Cristiano Ronaldo knows what’s coming: ‘I think [Leo] Messi is going to win this year because this kind of trophy depends on votes,’ he told Jonathan Ross in an interview last November.Messi will win his fifth Ballon D’Or next week and Ronaldo has accepted that. What he may still need to get his head around is the idea that he might not come second either.
|Cristiano Ronaldo has won the past two Ballon d'Ors but may have to make do with third place this time|
|The Real Madrid man has accepted that his Barcelona rival Lionel Messi (above) is likely to win the contest|
|Though Ronaldo was Europe's leading goalscorer last year, he failed to win a trophy|
|Neymar (above) could make it a Barcelona one-two following an outstanding 2015 for Barcelona|
Voter loyalty might keep Ronaldo in the top two positions but even if it does there is a feeling that after three Golden Balls the great man could even be appearing on the Zurich stage for the last time.
2016 is a European Championship year and if Portugal do as well as they did two years ago in Brazil their tournament will be a short one.
That will rob Ronaldo of a large chunk of the glory up for grabs in the next 12 months leaving the way clear for an Antoine Griezmann, a Kevin De Bruyne or a Gareth Bale to steal a march.
|Ronaldo and Messi have been the main contenders for the world's best player accolade for many years|
|Many thought Luis Suarez (left) should have made it a Barcelona clean sweep on the Ballon d'Or shortlist|
There is a decent argument for his place in the top three this year being hard to justify.
Luis Suarez’s 2015 was little short of astonishing. He scored 16 league goals and weighed in with 14 assists as Barca won the league much thanks to his performance in the second Clasico of the season.
He scored the vital second goal in the Champions League final and was player of the tournament as they won the Fifa Club World Cup. Ronaldo top scored in Europe but the Golden Boot is the prize for goals.
He is there, however. And his demeanour as he doesn't win will be fascinating to observe.
|Luis Suarez scored Barcelona's crucial second goal in the Champions League final - but wasn't shortlisted |
One of the most revealing scenes of Ronaldo the film, released last year came at the Zurich gala last January when Messi appeared just as Ronaldo was waiting to be given the award.
As he tells Messi that his son is a fan but that now he is shy it’s Ronaldo the Dad at his most natural. This year there will be no cry of Siiiiiii! Just polite applause as Messi wins.
If he does finish third and if he does see that as a sign that he is sliding down the ladder and slowly off the grid will it influence the big decision he has to make at the end of the season?
He knows the club will sell him if they get the chance. He also knows he is on a contract that does not end until 2018.
|Ronaldo and Messi pictured together at last year's Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland|
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