Didier Drogba believes Real Madrid and Portugal superstar Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win a fourth Ballon d’Or award after his heroics on the club and international stage, ESPN FC reports.
Ronaldo, 31, helped guide his national team to a maiden major international trophy by beating France 1-0 in the Euro 2016 final to cap a fine season in which he scored 54 goals for club and country.
Just six weeks earlier, the Portuguese superstar scored the winning penalty against Atletico Madrid to secure Real Madrid’s 11th Champions League trophy after scoring 16 goals in the lead up to the final in Milan.
Ronaldo’s accomplishments are in stark contrast to his perceived nemesis- and rival for the Ballon d’Or next January- Lionel Messi. The Barcelona superstar announced his retirement from international football after suffering international heartbreak for the fourth time when his Argentina side were beaten to the Copa America title by Chile.
And Drogba, who his currently plying his trade in the MLS for Montreal Impact, believes Ronaldo is the clear favourite to take home the much-coveted award next January.
“I played against Cristiano in the 2008 Champions League final that Manchester United won,” Drogba said.
“He’s a real leader and he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or for his great performances both for Real Madrid and Portugal. Although he wasn’t on the pitch at the final whistle, he was still the main reason why they got that far.”
The Chelsea great is just the latest star to put Ronaldo’s name forward for the Ballon d’Or. Realistic contenders for the award- Atletico Madrid and France star Antoine Griezmann and Barcelona superstar Neymar- have both admitted Ronaldo will win the award once again.