Carlo Ancelotti is confident that Cristiano Ronaldo will secure a second successive Ballon d’Or, with the Real Madrid manager’s comments coming after the Portuguese scored his third hat-trick of this fledgling campaign.
Ronaldo now has 17 goals for the season after netting another treble in the resounding victory over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday, and he now stands alongside Alfredo di Stefano and Telmo Zarra with 22 hat-tricks in La Liga.
The 29-year-old has now scored in his last eight appearances for Real Madrid, and his tally at this early stage of the season is four goals superior to what he had notched for his club a year ago.
Ronaldo’s performances over the course of 2013 earned him the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi for the first time in five years and, says Ancelotti, it is practically a forgone conclusion that his player will make it another hat-trick.
"I think there can be no doubt about Cristiano for the Ballon d’Or this year," Ancelotti said, as reported by AS. "There’s no putting money on it.”
Manchester United link
Ronaldo has, of course, been linked extensively with a transfer to Manchester United having supposedly grown frustrated at Real Madrid, but he would appear to be far from a player angling for a move away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
The summer departures of Angel di Maria and Xabi Alonso, along with the sale of Mesut Ozil a year previous, clearly irritated Ronaldo, although he seems to have quickly overcome any problems he might have had with Florentino Perez.
This is not to rule out an eventual move back to Old Trafford, and reports have indicated that Manchester United will have to wait two years until they are able to sign their former player. He would be 31 then and, with a year remaining on his enormous contract, Real Madrid may be inclined to sell.
The club are reported to have already calculated how much it would cost to recruit Ronaldo, with his proposed contract alone worth £79 million over a four-year period, although those plans might have to be put on the back burner until the summer of 2016.