Live from Zurich
Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has praised Cristiano Ronaldo for his 'fantastic' season, and singled out his 17 goals in the Champions League as the defining moment of his year.
Ronaldo is the heavy favourite to win his third Ballon d'Or at the Ballon d'Or gala in Zurich this evening, ahead of both Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich.
The Portuguese ace was in stunning form throughout 2014, and scored at a rate of more than a goal-a-game for both club and country. He also made history with Real Madrid, breaking Messi's record for the most goals in a single Champions League campaign to help his side secure 'La Decima' - their 10th European crown.
Ancelotti, who is nominated for the World Coach of the Year at tonight's ceremony, believes Ronaldo's goals in European football's top competition set him apart from his rivals as he looks to make it back-to-back Golden Ball victories.
"Ronaldo has had a fantastic season I think," the Italian coach said. "I’ve spoken a lot about him what a great help for us because in the Champions League he scored 17 goals and he had a year with a lot of continuity score a lot of goals and showed a fantastic effort for the team."
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Speaking later on in Zurich, Ronaldo insisted he was happy at Real Madrid but couldn't rule out a move in the future amidst rumours of a potential return to Manchester United.
Ancelotti was speaking at the press conference for the World Coach of the Year alongside Diego Simeone and Joachim Low, who are also nominated. So far this season, Ancelotti has guided his side to the top of the table ahead of Barcelona, while they also recorded an incredible 22 wins in a row across all competitions before eventually falling against Valencia in La Liga on January 4.
Discussing a wide range of topics at the press conference, the former Chelsea and AC Milan manager was also asked about which rules of the game he would change in light of the introduction of GoalLine Technology.
He replied: "I think it is far too penalising to have this last man rule when the referee blows for a penalty in the box and also gives a red card, I think this is too much. I would change that."