Wednesday 20 July 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo already sealed the Ballon d’Or 2017?

Background – Messi v Ronaldo v Suarez for the Ballon d’Or

It’s crazy how things work out.

As the league seasons wrapped up in the summer of 2016 and teams across Europe and South America began their Continental Championships, the focus was trained on some of the biggest names in the game. The year’s three leading Ballon d’or hopefuls were all in action. Lionel Messi was leading the Argentina national team, Cristiano Ronaldo was the skipper of the Portugal national team, while Luis Suarez was expected to be in his elements for the Uruguay national team.

No one would have expected that of these three players Ronaldo would be the one walking home from the international tournament with a winners’ medal around his neck.
Injuries affect the Big 3

But the tournament started with bad news for Suarez as he had to miss the group stage games due to an injury he suffered in the final of the Copa del Rey. It eventually ensured that Uruguay’s talisman would come home from the tournament without playing a single minute.

Messi, too, missed the opening game for his team, but then he returned in the second game with a hat-trick against Panama. The quarter-final yielded another goal for La Albiceleste captain as his team dumped Venezuela with a 4-1 thrashing. Messi scored one of the goals of the tournament with a splendid free-kick against the hosts United States.

However, it was a case of another dry match for Messi in the final as his team failed to score in the final against Chile and lost in the penalty shootout. To compound the Barcelona star’s misery, he missed the first spot kick for his side as they settled for another runners-up medal.
Ronaldo: From Zero to Hero at Euro 2016

Ronaldo also endured a difficult start to his Euro 2016 campaign as he failed to get on the scoresheet in the first two group stage games against Iceland and Austria.

However, with his team facing elimination against Hungary, the Portugal captain rose to the occasion and chipped in with a brace and an assist to help his team secure a 3-3 draw and with it a place in the knockout stage of the tournament.

It was a rebound off a Ronaldo shot that Ricardo Quaresma turned in against Croatia to help secure Portugal’s progress to the last eight and there the Real Madrid star led from the front as he scored the opening penalty kick against Poland to give his team the advantage in the shootout. The Portuguese eventually prevailed with a 5-3 triumph.

Ronaldo was decisive in the semi-final win over Wales as he contributed a goal and an assist in a 2-0 win. However, he couldn’t make much of an impact in the final against France owing to his injury early in the game that saw him stretchered off.

A late Eder goal secured a memorable 1-0 win for Portugal and helped Ronaldo secure his first major international honor.

Cristiano Ronaldo – a dead cert to win Ballon d’Or 2016

And significantly, Ronaldo’s stellar performances – and also the failures of his Messi and Suarez this summer – appear to have confirmed him to be the next year’s Ballon d’Or winner.

Surely Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be beaten for the Ballon d’Or. Already in 2016, he has won the Champion’s League including scoring the winning penalty in the shoot-out, he has won Euro 2016 including scoring three goals in the Finals and getting to 9 goals in total – the same as the talismanic Michel Platini. And 6 goals in 10 games in total so far for Portugal this year. Some of the goals were astonishing – the back heel goal against Hungary and the sensational Michael Jordan style leap to head in against Wales in the semi-final. Only a brutal foul by Payet in the Final of Euro 2016 stopped Ronaldo from scoring more goals.

Another Ballon d’Or contestant Griezmann, who enjoyed a superb Euro 2016 campaign and finished the tournament as the top goalscorer as well as the Golden Ball has endorsed Ronaldo for the best player gong, saying that the Portuguese has won two big trophies this year – the Champions League and the Euro 2016. And Griezmann lost to Ronaldo twice – both in the Champions League Final and in the Final of Euro 2016.

And both you the Destination Soccer readers believe this to be the case with 45% of you from almost 200 votes going for Ronaldo winning. The bookmakers also have Ronaldo as the heavy favorite with Lionel Messi a long way behind at 5/1. That is a crazy rating for a five time Ballon d’Or winner. As long as Ronaldo keeps scoring at his regular rate in the second half of 2016, you will be seeing more photos like this framed one – a rare photograph of a smiling Cristiano Ronaldo:

Do you think CR7 is comfortable for winning Ballon d'Or 2017?

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