Former Real Madrid star Luis Figo says Cristiano Ronaldo could win this year’s FIFA Ballon d’Or but warned he faces stiff competition from Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.
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Bayern Munich and France star Ribery is currently favourite to take the prize -- especially with Messi now sidelined for the remainder of 2013 due to his ongoing muscle issues.
However, Ronaldo’s superb current form -- which has seen him score nine goals in his last four matches -- looks well timed to boost his candidacy, and former Portugal international Figo told AS that his compatriot must be considered a strong contender.
“With his quality, what he stands for and his performance in every game, he can always win the Ballon d’Or, but I do not decide,” said Figo, who won the Ballon d’Or in 2000 and FIFA World Player of the Year in 2001.
The award is decided based on the votes of international coaches and captains as well as journalists and Figo added: “I do not know what criteria are used in the vote. I had the happiness to win it, but it is always very subjective. It is difficult to say if it is Cristiano, Messi or Ribery, because he won everything.”
Figo also said he hoped Portugal would be successful in their upcoming World Cup playoff against Sweden but that it was a tricky tie to call.
“As a Portuguese I hope my national team can be at the World Cup,” he said. “It is a difficult playoff against a team which has quality and which always causes problems for us.”
The former Barcelona, Madrid and Inter Milan winger said he was sticking to his story that president Florentino Perez ensured he was dropped from team and forced out of the Bernabeu in 2005, but that he was not looking to take the issue any further.
“I have spoken on that -- it is the past,” he said. “Let’s turn the page on that. It is what I thought and what happened. We should look to the future now, not look back.”