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- Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are battling to be named the best player in the world.
- A social media photo apparently depicted Messi as this year’s Ballon d’Or winner but Ronaldo is unconcerned by the rumours.
- He reportedly phoned Messi to brag that he will win in December.
It is one of football’s worst kept secrets: The tense relationship between the sport’s two best players.
Guillem Balague, a hugely respected Spanish football expert, once revealed that Christiano Ronaldo refers to Lionel Messi as “motherf****r” in private, and the atmosphere between the pair is “cold.”
Very often this tension bubbles up when Ronaldo and Messi battle for the coveted Ballon d’Or – an annual award given to the best-performing footballer of the year. 2017 is no different.
The Ballon d’Or winner will be announced on December 7, but there’s already plenty of jostling going on behind the scenes.
The supposed front cover of France Football, the French magazine in charge of the award, has been “leaked” online. It depicts Messi, leading some to conclude that it is the Argentinian player who will triumph.
— Dr Prakash Gurnani???? (@prakashmgurnani) November 11, 2017
But Ronaldo is reportedly having none of it. Spanish newspaper Don Balon says Ronaldo telephoned Messi to say he is unconcerned about the rumours and remains confident he will win the award.
If Ronaldo wins the 2017 prize, it will be his fifth Ballon d’Or, putting him level with Messi. And he has already picked up one gong this year after being named FIFA’s best player of the year award in London, last month.
In 2017, Ronaldo – a La Liga and Champions League double winner – has returned 45 goals and 11 assists from 51 games.
Though Lionel Messi is statistically superior with 51 goals and 13 assists from 56 games this calendar year, he is yet to win a major trophy in 2017.
The 2017 Ballon d’Or winner will be announced on December 7 by host David Ginola. Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, and a shortlist of 30 nominees are all vying for the individual prize.