Ex-Ballon d’Or winner says Cristiano Ronaldo has exceeded expectations at Juventus

Former Juventus star Pavel Nedved has said that Cristiano Ronaldo has exceeded his expectations since making the summer move to the Bianconeri. The Portuguese superstar made the surprise decision to leave Real Madrid after nine seasons last year after he relished the challenge of featuring for another high-profile club in Europe.

He has since continued with his regular scoring ways at the Bianconeri and he has already contributed 21 goals for the club across all competitions to date. In an interview covered by Tuttosport, Nedved was asked whether Ronaldo has managed to meet the expectations with the Serie A holders and his response was positive while stating that the Portuguese has performed better than initially predicted.

Filipe Luis mystified why Lionel Messi did not win Ballon d’Or

Atletico Madrid defender Filipe Luis has admitted that he is surprised by Lionel Messi’s fifth-placed finish at the 2018 Ballon d’Or ceremony. The Argentina international celebrated a La Liga and Cup double with Barcelona during the previous campaign but that was, however, not sufficient to even see him make the podium for the accolade.

Speaking to Globoesporte, Luis said that he is surprised that Messi was far off from the award, given he has regularly adapted himself to the demands of the modern game. He added that the Argentine fully deserved to win the previous Ballon d’Or and he was certainly shocked by the attacker’s failure to do so despite him playing for an arch-rival.

Mohamed Salah’s former youth coach backs the Egyptian for the Ballon d’Or

Mohamed Salah’s former youth coach at El Mokawloon, Hamdy Nouh believes there is more to come from the Egypt international, who has enjoyed a splendid 18 months at Liverpool. The attacker joined the Reds from AS Roma in the summer of 2017 and thereafter, there were question marks whether he can impress in the Premier League after failing at the first attempt with Chelsea.

However, he has come out with flying colours by contributing 60 goals across all competitions – out of which 45 have resulted in the Premier League. Because of this, he has been touted as a potential Ballon d’Or candidate for the future and Nouh feels the 26-year-old has the determination to go on to win the prestigious individual award.

Xavi – Lionel Messi finishing fifth for the Ballon d’Or is unfair

Barcelona legend Xavi believes Lionel Messi’s fifth position for the 2018 Ballon d’Or seems unfair, given the achievements of the Argentine through the calendar year. The 31-year-old won a domestic double with Barcelona last term after securing the La Liga and Copa del Rey crown but that was not sufficient to propel him to the podium at the least.

Speaking to reporters, Xavi said that Messi has been unfairly treated for the Ballon d’Or after finishing outside the top three for the first time in over a decade, he said:"In my opinion, it's not my fair. He is the best player that I've seen ever. I would give him every year for Ballon d'Or, but I don't give this Ballon d'Or. Modric is all right and I'm happy for him. But honestly, Messi is the best."

Fernando Santos backs Cristiano Ronaldo to secure another Ballon d’Or title

Portugal head coach Fernando Santos has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to win yet another Ballon d’Or title this year despite enduring a tough run with the national team. The Juventus star is currently on a self-imposed exile from international duty and he is not expected to return until the turn of the year.

Amidst this, there have been plenty of off-field issues affecting the former Real Madrid man but this has not hampered his playing form with nine goals and five assists already contributed for the Bianconeri. Speaking to reporters, Santos admitted that no team would want to leave a Ronaldo aside from the country’s squad and his absence does not reduce his importance.

Juventus boss backs Cristiano Ronaldo to win sixth Ballon d’Or

Juventus manager Max Allegri has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or title for the sixth occasion in his career. The Portuguese tactician has already won back-to-back Ballon d’Or crowns and Allegri feels the forward deserves a third successive title after his exploits for club and country last season.

Speaking on the club’s official website, Allegri said that he has no doubts regarding Ronaldo’s credentials for the prestigious accolade, though many have backed Luka Modric for the award this term, he quipped: “Cristiano deserves to win the Ballon d'Or for everything he's done - the goals he's scored, the trophies he's won and what he's doing this season too. He's world-class. He's taken us to another level because he's brought international experience and he's raised everyone's belief.”

Antoine Griezmann believes Frenchman should win Ballon d’Or

Atletico Madrid superstar Antoine Griezmann believes a Frenchman should win the Ballon d’Or this time around given Les Bleus were crowned the world champions. France secured their second World Cup crown over the summer after they managed to outclass Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia by a comfortable 4-2 scoreline in the final.

Speaking to France Football, Griezmann feels one of his countrymen should be awarded with the Ballon d’Or this year, given they were the best team at the global tournament in Russia. He added that he would personally love to win the Ballon d’Or to join the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the hall of fame.

Tevez: Messi the Most Gifted

Having played as forward for the Argentina national side alongside Lionel Messi, and for Manchester United alongside Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Tevez has the experience of playing close to both of the main contenders for the FIFA Ballon D’Or (for about the last 10 years!) But who does he think is better?

Whilst in the end this year the plaudit went to Luka Modric (the first time neither Messi or Ronaldo have won it since 2009), pushing Ronaldo into second place, whilst Messi didn’t make the podium somehow. This was on the back of a Champions League winning campaign for Modric with Real Madrid, notable ex-pros calling for him to win, and perhaps more importantly, a run all the way to the World Cup Final with Croatia.

Olivier Giroud backs a Frenchman or Luka Modric to win the Ballon d’Or

France international Olivier Giroud has stressed that he does not give any importance to the FIFA Best Men’s award and he is only interested in the Ballon d’Or. He added that one of his compatriots or Luka Modric should win the individual gong this year, thus ending the dominance from Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi over the past decade.

Speaking to Le Parisien, Giroud said: "It is very surprising, but, to be honest, I do not attach importance to this trophy. I'm only interested in the Ballon d'Or. "It must be a Frenchman or Modric [who wins the Ballon d'Or]. If I could vote, I know which of my partners I would choose, but I will not tell you."

Didier Deschamps names Antoine Griezmann as potential Ballon d’Or candidate

France manager Didier Deschamps has highlighted Antoine Griezmann as one among the potential candidates who could compete for the Ballon d’Or crown. The Atletico Madrid star was one among the many standout performers for Les Bleus during the recent World Cup and Deschamps believes the marksman should come at least close to the prestigious accolade.

Speaking to L’Equipe, he said: “He's a potential candidate for the Ballon d'Or, yes, he deserves it. It's not just him, but he deserves it. The Ballon d'Or, that would be a very good thing.We've seen so many times, there are two who are still there... Come on, even three, you have Messi, Ronaldo with everything they represent in the world and what they do. Neymar too, even if he arrives behind.”