Madrid, Jan 8 (IANS) Real Madrid’s Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed he will attend the prestigious Balon D’Or Award ceremony to be held in Zurich Monday.
Ronaldo’s decision will increase speculation that he is in line to win the Balon D’Or, which is to be given to the player voted as the best footballer of the past year, by international coaches and players, reports Xinhua.
He is competing against FC Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who has won the award on the past four occasions, and Bayern Munich striker Franck Ribery.
A major handicap for Ronaldo, who scored his 400th career goal Monday, is that despite a brilliant year, which saw him score a hat-trick in November to help Portugal qualify for the World Cup finals in Brazil, his Real Madrid side failed to win any titles in 2013 and the club’s campaign has to be qualified as a failure.
Messi on the other hand led FC Barcelona to the La Liga title in Spain, although his year has been complicated by a series of muscle injuries and he has not played since early November.
If titles were the criteria for winning the Balon D’Or then Ribery would be the clear favourite given that he formed part of a Bayern Munich side which win the German League and Cup as well as the Champions League and the European Supercup, before ending 2013 with Bayern being crowned as World Club Champions, although it should be pointed out they won that trophy after voting for the Balon D’Or had closed.
While Ribery can point to the titles, many consider that he won them as part of a team, whereas his individual displays were not as decisive as those of Messi or Ronaldo.