Ronaldo: This Star Will End CR7 & Messi's Ballon d'Or Reign
Ronaldo Nazario: This Star Will End Cristiano Ronaldo & Lionel Messi's Ballon d'Or Reign
Former Real Madrid and Brazil striker Ronaldo Nazario has named who he believes will end Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's Ballon d'Or reign, and explained why it could happen this year already.
The 41-year-old won the Ballon d'Or in 1997 and 2002, and believes his countryman Neymar has the best chance to end Ronaldo and Messi's 10-year dominance of the accolade, with both superstars having lifted the prestigious Golden Ball five times.
"I think that, each time, Neymar is closer and closer to winning this individual prize," Ronaldo Nazario told SFR Sport, as quoted by ESPN.
"Even if the criteria are variable and depend a lot on team performance. I'm sure he's close to it; 2018 is an important year. There is the World Cup in Russia where a lot of things can be decided."
Ronaldo won his second Golden Ball in 2002 after guiding Brazil to the FIFA World Cup title in Japan and South Korea, and believes something similar could happen this year.
"If you score a goal in the (World Cup) final, you'll have a great chance of winning the trophy as best player, so I support him, and I think that sooner or later, he'll win it," he added.
"If it's not this year, it'll be next year, because he's a player with a lot of potential. And the Brazilians are nostalgic about having one of their own as the best player in the world."
Neymar has already scored 27 goals and assisted another 16 strikes in just 26 appearances for Paris Saint-Germain following his world record move from Barcelona. However, his biggest test yet as a PSG player will come on 14 February, when Les Parisiens face Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu in the UEFA Champions League Round of 16.
Do you think Neymar can beat Messi and Ronaldo to the Ballon d'Or this year? Have your say in the comments section below.