Whenever Hristo Stoichkov opens his mouth, headlines inevitably follow.
The Bulgarian legend is one of the most outspoken former professionals around and makes no secret of his dislike for Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo, in particular.
Stoichkov urged Los Blancos to sell Ronaldo last year after he failed to celebrate a Gareth Bale goal against Levante - and has now claimed the only way the Portuguese superstar will win the 2016 Ballon d’Or is if he’s judged on his looks rather than his football.
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"[Antoine] Griezmann deserves it, and so will [Gareth] Bale if Wales win [Euro 2016] but Ronaldo could only win it for his looks," Stoichkov told Cadena Cope, per Marca.
Ronaldo, like Griezmann and Bale, also has an opportunity to win the European Championships.
Ronaldo could inspire Portugal to Euro 2016 glory
Portugal are through to the semi-finals after defeating Poland on penalties last Thursday and will now compete with Wales on Wednesday night for a place in Sunday’s final.
Ronaldo might also fancy his chances of making a late charge for the top scorer award.
The 31-year-old has only scored in one of Portugal’s Euro 2016 matches - he netted a brace in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Hungary - but only sits two goals behind the tournament’s current leading goalscorer, Griezmann.
Ronaldo the current favourite to win 2016 Ballon d'Or
Ronaldo is the current favourite to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or following Real Madrid’s Champions League final triumph over Atletico Madrid in May.
The former Manchester United star didn’t perform well in the final at the San Siro - in fairness, he wasn’t fully fit - but stole the headlines after scoring the winning penalty in the shootout.
If he inspires Portugal to glory at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis at the weekend - provided Fernando Santos’ side beat Wales - a fourth Ballon d’Or for Ronaldo will be almost inevitable, particularly after Lionel Messi failed to lead Argentina to glory in the Copa America final.
Stoichkov: Messi will return for Argentina
On Messi’s decision to retire from international football, Stoichkov added: "[Messi] will return to play with the team.”
Rumours are rife that Messi will reverse his decision in time for Argentina’s next round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo win the 2016 Ballon d’Or? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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