Ronaldo shortlisted for FIFA’s Ballon D’Or prize

For the eighth time, Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo is one of three finalists for the 2015 FIFA Ballon D’Or prize alongside Barcelona rivals Lionel Messi and Neymar.

He has won the award three times – 2008, 2013and 2014 – but, according to some football specialists, is not the frontrunner this year.

The Guardian newspaper explains, “Messi is the odds-on favourite to win” as he guided Barcelona to victories in the Spanish league and cup as well as the UEFA Champions League last season, scoring an astounding 58 goals in 57 matches.

Ronaldo has had an even more impressive season in individual terms scoring 61 goals in 54 matches, but Real Madrid were unable to clinch any of the main titles they were fighting for. The Spanish team did win the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup, however.

Even so, Ronaldo has admitted that he does not expect to win this year.

“To be honest, I think Messi is going to win because this kind of trophy depends on votes,” he said on ITV’s Jonathan Ross Show last month.

“I am not very worried about it either way, as I have said many times I never thought I would win three times,” he added.

The 30-year-old Portuguese football star has been among the world’s top-three players since 2007, except in 2010 when the podium featured Lionel Messi, Xavi and Andrés Iniesta.

This year’s Ballon d’Or winner will be announced at a gala in Zurich on January 11.

michael.bruxo@algarveresident.com