Second time in a row, Real Madrid player and Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo on 7th December beat Lionel Messi to win the prestigious Ballon d'Or. Neymar, former Barcelona and now PSG forward, came third. Messi and Ronaldo are on an even keel by winning the award five times in a row and have been the only recipients of the award since 2008. The last footballer apart from Messi and Ronaldo to win the prestigious award was Ricardo Kaka, from Brazil, back in 2007. After drawing level with Lionel Messi in terms of Ballons d'Or won, Ronaldo told France Football magazine that he has "never seen anyone better than" himself. This has re-energised the Messi-Ronaldo rivalry, which is footballing world’s equivalent of Federer-Nadal rivalry. There’s the brand divide of Nike and Adidas along with an ideological debate between purists siding with Messi and the modernists who back the goal scoring Ronaldo. There is also the Spanish vs the Catalan rivalry, as seen during the El Classicos played between Real Madrid against Barcelona. Ballon d'Or criteria: The FIFA Ballon d'Or award is given to the world's best male player according to on-field performances and overall behaviour on and off the pitch. The winner of the award is selected by a diverse international jury made up of the current coaches, captains of national teams and specialist journalists. The award has sparked the debate whether it is bestowed according to personal merit or team performance. The ‘Rules of Allocation’ state that the award is presented “according to on-field performance and overall behaviour on and off the pitch”. A brief comparison of statistics between Messi and Ronaldo during 2017 calendar year and 2017-18 season to understand their recent form preceding the Ballon d’Or 2017.
Total (2017) Messi Ronaldo Apps 61 56 Assist 14 13 Goals 52 49 Goal ratio 0.89 0.88 Hat-tricks 3 3 Total (2017-18) Messi Ronaldo Apps 22 18 Assist 5 3 Goals 17 12 Goal ratio 0.77 0.67 Hat-tricks 2 0
With Argentina's qualification hopes in the balance, 30-year-old Messi pulled out one of his best ever performances for his country, with a hat-trick against Ecuador, becoming the joint top scorer in CONMEBOL qualifying in the process. In Europe, Ronaldo was also setting records with Portugal. His hat-trick against the Faroe Islands helped him become the highest scorer in UEFA qualifying with 29 goals during his career. In addition, Ronaldo also overtook Pele on the list of all-time international goalscorers, taking his tally to 79 international goals.In overall 2017, Messi has the most assists, chances created, successful dribbles, key passes and man of the match performances. So, the basis for Ronaldo winning the Ballon D’or has led to fans question whether team trophies are more important than personal stats. This further leads to the criticism by certain fans as Real Madrid midfield consists of the likes of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, the supply chain to Ronaldo’s exploits. What’s next: With the coming of World Cup 2018, Ronaldo believes club success won’t fetch him a 6th Ballon d'Or. He says, “There are so many competitions to play in the next year with Real, then the World Cup with Portugal. That World Cup will be crucial in the running of the Ballon d’Or.” The 6th Ballon d’Or contest seems interesting as both Messi and Ronaldo will try their best to go for what many believe may be their last attempt with a host of youngsters like Pogba, Neymar and experienced world class players like Hazard, Kane making strides towards Ballon D’or glory. For that both Messi and Ronaldo would need to go all the way to the World Cup finals. Speaking to France Football Magazine, Ronaldo said: “There’s no player more complete than me. I play well with both feet, I’m quick, powerful, good with the head, I score goals, I make assists. There are guys who prefer Neymar or Messi. But I tell you: there’s no-one more complete than me.” Cristiano Ronaldo. Photo: @cristiano (Twitter) Messi-Ronaldo All Time Stats:
|Total (For club)||Messi||Ronaldo|