It’s Ballon d’Or campaigning season once again, and an award that has become increasingly political is big news in Spain.
The perfect Madrid and Barcelona battle of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi makes for great media food, and those favourable to each have been getting their claims in for some time.
The last time the Ballon d’Or winner didn’t come from one of those clubs, the trophy was paraded at Manchester United’s Old Trafford, but even then it was Cristiano Ronaldo holding it.
Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was the proud coach that day, and had seen Ronaldo progress from a raw talent to the best player in the world. Therefore, Spanish newspaper Marca obviously thought there was nobody better than the Manchester United man to push Ronaldo’s claims this time.
Ferguson is on Marca’s Monday front page, and inside is quoted as saying: “I cannot think of anyone better to lift the Ballon d’ Or trophy. One of the moments I feel most proud of is the thought that Manchester United took a role in his career. We wish him well.”
Not convinced enough? Well, Ferguson had some more words to help push Ronaldo’s case: “His achievements are unsurpassed, has had a wonderful year, winning both the Champions League with Real Madrid as well as captaining Portugal in Euro 2016, where despite missing the final through injury was on the sideline cheering on his teammates. Such was his desire to lift the trophy. It was wonderful.”
Marca say Ferguson supports Ronaldo ‘unconditionally’ and he’s also quoted as saying: “Even as a young man at Manchester United, he was an example for all.”
It can’t be argued against that Ronaldo had a great season, but there will still be many who believe the award should go elsewhere, and the campaigning will continue.