12.10.2018 » Is Ronaldo still favorite to win the Ballon d'Or?
Cristiano Ronaldo needs to deliver some sensational performances in the coming weeks if he is to seize a record-breaking sixth Balon d'Or award. The Portuguese legend is level with Barcelona's fierce rival Lionel Messi on five apiece and he would move clear at the top if he claimed this year's award. It all looked to be going his way until the World Cup, when Real Madrid teammate Luka Modric emerged by winning the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. Cristiano Ronaldo now needs to play out of his skin if he is to overhaul the Croatian midfielder before the winner is revealed on December 3 of 2018, in a ceremony to be held by France Football in Paris, France.
Ballon d'Or 2018 - The 30 nominees:
Ballon d'Or ceremony date: December 3
It is now a decade since the Portuguese forward first won the coveted gong and he and Messi have duopolised it ever since. He looked all but certain to take the top prize again this year, vanquishing Messi in the process and after Real Madrid romped to a third consecutive UEFA Champions League title. He delivered a stunning bicycle kick to see off Juventus before reaching the tournament's final and he finished as the tournament's top scorer, five clear of Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
But Portugal struggled at the World Cup and Croatia were electric, finishing runners-up, with Modric delivering a number of sumptuous performances. He too was already basking in the glory of Real's Champions League triumph, and he was named FIFA Best Men’s Player ahead of Ronaldo at a recent ceremony. Now, Modric is ahead of Ronaldo in the betting to win the Balon d'Or at BetOnline and other well-reviewed bookmakers. Ronaldo is the second favourite, followed by Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappé, and only then do you see Messi, but it seems like Modric could snatch that piece of history away from Ronaldo once again...
Goals Could be the key
He is now at Juventus and he has made a typically blistering start to his career in Turin. He has already claimed four goals and four assists in eight games at the club and that has inspired Juventus to a stunning 100% start to the season. He is sure to add to his vast haul of trophies this season, but individual honours are another matter entirely. The one he most wants is the Balon d'Or and he could yet seize it if he bangs in a number of goals in the weeks ahead. He plays in a far more high-profile and glamorous position than Modric and there is more scope for him to shine.
Consolation prizes this season would be the top scorer award in Serie A and the Footballer of the Year honour. It is worth noting that no Juventus player has won the Golden Boot in Italy since Alessandro del Piero a decade ago, despite the team winning the league for the last seven years in a row. Gonzalo Higuain won the Capocannoniere at Napoli, but not with Juventus, while Mauro Icardi and Ciro Immobile shared the award last year, despite their clubs finishing well off the pace.
Italy is a different challenge
Unlike in Spain and England, success in Italy is all based on defensive solidity and that is what has carried Juventus to glory time and time again. If Ronaldo wins the top scorer award amid that backdrop, it would be truly remarkable. He is already five goals behind Genoa's Krzystof Piatek, who has started the season on fire, but there is still plenty of time for him to make up the difference.
As for Footballer of the Year, Juventus stars have won it for the last six seasons: three for Andrea Pirlo, then Carlos Tevez, Leonardo Bonucci in 2016 and Gianluigi Buffon last year. Ronaldo could well go on and win that in 2018, and he could also claim another Balon d’Or if he leads Juventus to that elusive Champions League title. It will be fascinating to see him try...
Cristiano Ronaldo next game for Juventus is on October 20 of 2018 against Genoa. You can watch Juventus vs Genoa, Argentina vs Iraq, Wales vs Spain, France vs Iceland, Israel vs Scotland, and Russia vs Sweden, all matches provided from our live football game pages.
Juventus next game:
Juventus vs Genoa kick-off time (20-10-2018):
Beijing (China) | UTC/GMT+8: 00:00
Jakarta (Indonesia) | UTC/GMT+7: 23:00
India (New Delhi) | UTC/GMT+5.30: 21:30
Italy (Turin) | UTC/GMT+2: 18:00
Spain (Madrid) | UTC/GMT+2: 18:00
Portugal and England (Lisbon/London) | UTC/GMT+1: 17:00
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) | UTC/GMT-3: 13:00
New York (United States) | UTC/GMT-4: 12:00
Los Angeles (United States) | UTC/GMT-7: 09:00