Cristiano Ronaldo is a shoo-in for the 2013 Ballon d'Or award, but he has waited five years to add to the first he won way back in 2008.
During that time, CR7 has matured into an all-round, complete and absolutely phenomenal footballer; and based on his exploits last year, including that hat trick against Sweden, he is very much deserving of the award.
The first of Ronaldo's Ballon d'Or came when he was with Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and it cannot be disputed that Ferguson played a major role in the shaping of the boy that has become a global superstar today.
What cannot also be disputed is the fact that that the best of Ronaldo was evident following his then-world record transfer to Real Madrid. Whether or not it was the presence of eternal rival, Lionel Messi, that prompted such transformation is debatable.
What is not up for argument is the fact that the astronomical number of goals he has scored and the breathtaking performances he puts on display on a weekly basis is enough to convince anyone that his management has had a lot to do with his rise to international superstardom.
In his first season, Ronaldo struggled to assert himself in a Madrid team already overloaded with stars. But with Jose Mourinho's arrival in 2010, he was reborn. Ferguson may be credited with curbing his innate desire to do one step-over too many, but Mourinho should get credit for converting a gifted attacker into a master striker.
Today, Mourinho says the "other Ronaldo" (CR7 of course) is one of the best professionals he has worked with and Ronaldo returned the favour by insisting that he would gladly work with the Special One again. And a return of 120 goals over three seasons under the Portuguese tactician is enough to understand why.
In comparison, Eden Hazard arrived Chelsea for Lille two summers ago as a precocious teenager capable of thrilling, mazy dribbles and a certain cockiness noticeable in Ronaldo at 22. Although he has had experiences under three different managers since that time, it seems Hazard is well on his way towards becoming a footballer as good as the phenomenon that CR7 is now.
Singlehandedly, Hazard secured a 4-3 win for Chelsea over Sunderland and during the festive fixtures, and continued to display how he has become such an integral part of the Blues squad under various tenures.
It is not difficult to imagine then the influence Mourinho must have had in pushing Hazard into becoming the better player that he is now.
Should the 23-year old Belgian continue in this form, and his development is not stalled, he will be as aesthetically appealing, lethal and fearsome as the 28-year old Ronaldo. Already, both players play with an astonishing work rate in defence and attack, and have an eye for goal as well a pass; that is the Mourinho blueprint - hardwork all round and technical intelligence with skill.
And when that time comes and Hazard is as good as Ronaldo, Mourinho's name will undoubtedly be mentioned again.
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