Cristiano Ronaldo admits that with the rise of Mo Salah, the Ballon d’Or is no longer a two-horse race between himself and Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the annual award for more than a decade, with Kaka in 2007 the last time someone else won the prize.
But after Salah’s incredible 44-goal season with Liverpool, Ronaldo now sees the Egyptian as a major threat for the best player of the year award.
“Mo Salah has been one of the revelations of the year,” Ronaldo said.
“Many people talk about the Cristiano Ronaldo-Messi battle but there are other players who have chances to enter the race (for Ballon d’Or). The Egyptian is one of them.”
Ronaldo lined up opposite Salah in Real Madrid’s 3-1 Champions League final victory over Liverpool, although their battle was prematurely ended after Salah suffered a shoulder injury in the first half.
“I hope his injury in the final in Kiev doesn’t keep him out,” Ronaldo added.
The pair could potentially square off again in the last 16, if Egypt and Portugal make it past Group A and B respectively.
But while Ronaldo is ready to lead his country against Spain in their first World Cup match on Friday, Salah faces a race against time to be fit for Egypt’s opener against Uruguay on the same day.