Ballon d’Or 2016: The case for anyone but Ronaldo

It’s Ballon d’Or time once again and Cristiano Ronaldo is everyone’s favourite to secure the trophy for a fourth time after leading Real Madrid to last season’s Champion’s League final and Portugal to the European Championship title in France.

And impressive as that may be, it’s about time that football’s establishment started thinking outside the box and awarded the Ballon d’Or to one of the many other deserving players on the list.

Poor second half to the year
While there is no disputing Ronaldo is one of the greatest players of all time, who has just come off the back of another amazing season for Madrid, if truth be told he was at best mediocre for his country during the summer at Euro 2016, and made the headlines more for his tantrums, than his play.

Portugal’s triumph in the final seemed to make everyone instantly forget that Ronaldo had been anonymous for all but two of their games, the first when he scored two goals to help Portugal salvage a 3-3 draw against Hungary. This saw them qualify in third place from a weak group featuring Austria, Hungary and Iceland.

In previous tournaments Portugal would have been going home.

The only other game in which he really ‘turned it on’ was the semi-final game against Wales where he outshone Madrid teammate Gareth Bale with a goal and an assist to register Portugal’s only regulation time victory in the tournament. He was stretchered off early in the final and played no part as Portugal secured the trophy with an extra-time winner.

So far this season Ronaldo’s form for Madrid has been poor, and while fatigue may be a factor, the Ballon d’Or is supposed to be awarded to the best player during a calendar year that started at the end of November 2015.

Ronaldo has been good for just over half of that period.

The players, coaches and journalists who will vote for the winner should not let their hearts rule their heads, recognise that fact and vote for the most consistent player during the whole year.

The cold, hard truth being is that it is not Cristiano Ronaldo.

Richard Hazeldine

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