Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has backed Cristiano Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or awards this year.

The Portuguese player is in pole position to pick up the award after an impressive year for club and country. Real Madrid won yet another UEFA Champions League, making the second in three years after they had lifted their tenth in 2014. Ronaldo captained Portugal to their first major title in decades as they lifted the Euro 2016 in France this summer. Ronaldo’s contributions were immense, sparking the debate that the award was sure to name him the best in the game.

FIFA ended their collaboration with French magazine, France Football, to launch Best FIFA Football Awards this year. It used to be the World Player of the Year awards – from 1991 – until the apex football body joined the magazine in 2010. France Football used to award best European players since 1956 o 1994 but made it any footballer playing in Europe from 1995 to 2009.

Ronaldo was the striker as Real Madrid played Atletico in the La Liga last week. Madrid stunned, winning 3-0 at the Vincente Calderon. Zidane who was impressed with the display, after switching to the 4-4-2 formation, said:

“I don’t know if it was the best, but it was a huge game away to tough opponents. We read the game very well and we went in strongly. I’m happy with what we did, it’s not easy and there will be few teams that win here 0-3,” Zidane boasted after the shocking big victory.

On the Ballon d’or or FIFA awards, Zidane said: “Ronaldo near the Golden Ball? I never had any doubts that Cristiano was the best and now he has closed the debate.”

Aside Ronaldo, Madrid forward Gareth Bale, Antoine Greizmann and Lionel Messi are in contention for either awards.