Cristiano Ronaldo names four superstars as Ballon d’Or rivals

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has named the four players he considers rivals for the Ballon d’Or award. Despite being the odds-on favourite, the Portuguese superstar isn’t taking anything for granted, and still believes the result isn’t a foregone conclusion. Speaking to ESPN in China, Ronaldo said, “Of course it is always going to be a fight between us. I’m there along with [Lionel] Messi, Neymar, [Robert] Lewandowski and [Gonzalo] Higuain.”

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the Ballon d’Or in the last decade, with Brazilian superstar Kaka the last player apart from the superstar duo to win the award in 2007. Lionel Messi leads the way with 5 Ballon d’Or awards, while Ronaldo follows closely behind with 4, having drawn closer for his heroics in the 2016 calendar year.

Ronaldo is all set to tie Lionel Messi this year, as the Portuguese superstar enjoyed a stellar first half of 2017, scoring some crucial goals to guide Real Madrid to the La Liga title and an historic 2nd consecutive UEFA Champions League.

The 32-year-old also went on to explain what motivates him to continue to excel at the topmost level, saying “That kind of fighting and competition is healthy and that is what motivates me, being better than them year after year. The best always try to compete with the best, it keeps you sharp. You know you can never lose focus because others will overtake you.”

Lionel Messi remains the major rival for the Ballon d’Or award this year, as the Argentinian wizard had a stellar season personally, but failed to guide Barcelona to their major targets, ending up with a solitary trophy in the form of a Copa del Rey. Ronaldo had a chance to further cement his status as a Ballon d’Or favourite this summer, but Portugal fell in the semifinals of the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup to eventual runners-up Chile.