Following Real Madrid’s victory in the 2015-16 Champions League final and Portugal’s triumph at this summer’s European Championships, it seems inevitable that Cristiano Ronaldo will secure a fourth Ballon d’Or award next January.
The 31-year-old is the overwhelming favourite to win the prestigious individual accolade - most of the leading bookmakers have him as short as 1/6 on - but Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta doesn’t appear to be convinced that the Portuguese goal machine deserves the award.
Iniesta named his three potential candidates to win the Ballon d’Or - scroll down a little further to see the Spanish midfielder’s picks - and there was no mention for Real Madrid’s No. 7.
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"There are many players,” Iniesta told Catalan newspaper Sport. “My No 1 candidate is Leo (Messi), and after that if it's a team-mate, Luis Suarez or Ney, I would be delighted."
Not even a nod in Cristiano’s direction - and perhaps Iniesta genuinely believes his teammates deserve the award more.
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Ronaldo was poor in the Champions League final
After all, there’s no escaping the fact that Ronaldo was poor against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final. He stole the limelight by scoring the winning penalty, but for the previous 120 minutes he flattered to deceive.
It’s important to note, though, that the former Manchester United star wasn’t 100 per cent fit during that match.
And only played 25 mins in the Euro 2016 final
Ronaldo also played a bit-part role in the Euro 2016 final. Stretched off after 25 minutes, the three-time Ballon d’Or winner returned in extra-time to rally his teammates from the touchline.
However, Portugal effectively beat France without arguably the world’s best player - not because of him.
Iniesta: I want to retire at Barcelona
Iniesta also spoke about his future, following Barcelona’s decision to add Andre Gomes and Denis Suarez to their ranks, and insists he still wants to retire at the Camp Nou.
"I have the hope of retiring at my club, at Barcelona, because that's my desire,” the World Cup winner continued. “Apart from that I have to look year on year, and seeing how I find myself, not because I want to leave, but because of the situation. I hope that next June I have the same sensation as the last year, that it has been one of the ones I've enjoyed most as a player."
Iniesta on Messi's retirement decision
And on Messi’s decision to retire from international football this summer, Iniesta added: "I'm not anyone to advise anyone, in this case Leo. Everyone has their own personal situation, he sees things in his way and he takes the decisions. I have nothing to advise him."
Does Cristiano Ronaldo deserve to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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