By Conor Laird Published: October 14, 2021 4:50 pm
Last Updated: October 14, 2021 4:54 pm
Former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has weighed in on the debate surrounding the upcoming Ballon d’Or.
Messi joined by Pedri & more The latest round of nominees for the Ballon d’Or were of course announced late last week.
After the awarding of the prize – widely regarded as the most prestigious individual accolade in world football – was cancelled last time out due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first ‘Golden Ball’ for almost two years will be served up late next month.
The usual big-hitters were all present on France Football’s shortlist, including the two most successful players in the accolade’s history – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – along with Robert Lewandowski, Neymar, Erling Haaland, and another previous winner – Luka Modric.
Also honoured with inclusions were Barcelona sensation Pedri, Italian Euro 2020 winners Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci, and even Simon Kjaer, owing to his heroic response to Christian Eriksen’s frightening cardiac arrest during the summer:
Lewandowski, Salah, Jorginho, Azpilicueta, Lukaku, Ronaldo, Foden, Gerard Moreno, Mbappe, Suarez, De Bruyne, Dias, Kjaer, Neymar, Lautaro Martinez, Messi, Pedri, Chiellini, Bruno Fernandes, Modric, Mahrez, Haaland, Kante, Mount, Bonucci, Donnarumma, Kane, Benzema, Barella, Sterling
Here are the other 10 nominees for the Men’s #ballondor pic.twitter.com/auEMazmpEy
— France Football #BallondOr (@francefootball) October 8, 2021
‘Record after record’ As things stand, it is of course Messi who is viewed as the bookmakers‘ favourite to bag a historic 7th Ballon d’Or crown, on the back of a long overdue Copa America triumph with Argentina.
Amongst the other front-runners, though, are the likes of Robert Lewandowski, and Chelsea pair N’Golo Kante and Jorginho.
One star name, on the other hand, who has seemingly been overlooked by many when it comes to his chances of bagging the prize, is Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portuguese superstar Ronaldo would draw level with the aforementioned Messi in the Ballon d’Or record books with a 2021 triumph, with a recent hat-trick on the international stage having seen Golden Ball chatter amongst his loyal fanbase kick up a notch.
LOULE, PORTUGAL – OCTOBER 9: Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United and Portugal during the International Friendly match between Portugal and Qatar at Estadio Algarve on October 9, 2021 in Loule, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
And, this week, one of the most respected names in the world of football has thrown his weight behind CR7’s latest award campaign.
Speaking to the media, as cited by Marca, ex-Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson, known to maintain a strong relationship with Ronaldo, assured that:
‘Cristiano deserves it.’
‘This year he’s broken record after record.’
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) October 14, 2021
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