Cristiano Ronaldo did not even attend the 2021 Ballon d’Or awards this week, after a row with organisers.
Lionel Messi won the award, a highly controversial decision considering his record of just one Ligue 1 goal in seven matches this season.
Robert Lewandowski was widely regarded as a more worthy winner.
According to Ronaldo’s former Champions League winning teammate Toni Kroos, the Manchester United star would have been a more deserving Ballon d’Or winner than Messi.
Kroos cuts to the point
Speaking on his Spotify podcast, translated by Goal, Kroos made the case for Ronaldo, pointing at his United performances.
Kroos said: “When I see how many decisive goals Cristiano has scored lately – Manchester United are still in the Champions League thanks to him alone – then, in my eyes, Cristiano would have also come before Messi.”
The German midfielder is not wrong. Without Ronaldo’s decisive winners and equalising goals, the team would not have qualified for the knockout rounds with a game to spare.
While Kroos felt Ronaldo should have finished above Lionel Messi, he stopped short of saying he should have won the award, and did not plump for Robert Lewandowski either.
Instead he supported the claim of Karim Benzema, stating: “For me, Karim would have been the number one if you were really looking for the best individual player of the last year, because I can see from close quarters what an outstanding footballer he is.”
Ronaldo still has a claim to be top
Messi has seven Ballon d’Or awards now, to Ronaldo’s five. But he still trails Ronaldo in Champions League goals, international goals, and overall goals for club and country.
Cumulative rankings from all Ballon d’Or awards also still place Ronaldo higher.
The Sun report Ronaldo has a total 3,781 points from overall votes – 200 more than Messi, and the most in history.
Ronaldo will need to ensure Portugal qualify for the World Cup to stand a chance of winning the award next year. In his path lies a qualifying play-off, with his nation on a collision course with Italy.
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