Rio Ferdinand claimed a Chelsea star being among the favourites to lift the Ballon d’Or “makes no sense”, and claimed Cristiano Ronaldo is showing why he’ll be among the favourites in 2022.
The Ballon d’Or is arguably the most prestigious individual honour a professional footballer can win. The 2021 winner will be announced at a ceremony in Paris on November 29. And unlikely previous years, a new face is expected to scoop the award.
Lionel Messi and Ronaldo have dominated the running over the last 14 years. Messi has received the honour six times, with Ronaldo just one behind on five.
However, Robert Lewandowski is the bookies’ favourite, with Mohamed Salah, Jorginho and Messi the current outsiders.
Speaking to BT Sport, Ferdinand gave his verdict on who the 2021 winner should be, and claimed United hero Ronaldo is already making a case for the 2022 version given his scintillating form.
“There ain’t a stand out, it’s hard to say,” said Ferdinand (via the Sun).
“This would never have been [the case] before. It would have just been two names on there – Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Cristiano’s not on there because his teams didn’t win the league and he didn’t get as many goals maybe. But Cristiano Ronaldo doing what he’s doing now, next season could be on this list.
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“I think this year Lewandowski, yeah. 56 goal involvements in 38 games is ridiculous. That is Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi numbers.”
Few would disagree if the Polish striker scooped the award. However, the same cannot be said if Chelsea’s Jorginho lifts the honour in Ferdinand’s eyes.
Ferdinand dismisses Jorginho claim, namechecks Kante
Ferdinand continued: “The Jorginho one baffles me.
“He’s not the best player at Chelsea and he’s not the first name on the team-sheet with Italy either.
“He’s a very good player don’t get me wrong and I’m not trying to be disrespectful at all, but I don’t see how he gets on the list with those players – with the levels that these guys have been playing at.
“If you look at Chelsea, in their run to winning the Champions League, I think (N’Golo) Kante was man of the match in five of their last six games.
“It baffles me. He’s won two of the big trophies, I get that. But when you’re putting him up against those other four players there, it doesn’t make sense to me.”