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Ronaldo Bids for Third Ballon d’Or in a Row

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo is bidding to win the coveted Ballon d’Or three times in a row. Can he achieve it?

Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo is used to scoring hat-tricks, but one has eluded him in his career. The Portuguese superstar has won the coveted Ballon d’Or award five times but never three years a row, could this be the year that all changes or will Lionel Messi or Mo Salah deny him that achievement? Let’s take a look at the contenders for this prestigious award.

More Success for Ronaldo

Only two players have won this honour three times in a row. Michel Platini won it between 1983 and 1985 and Lionel Messi won it for four successive years between 2009 and 2012. Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or for the past two years and only once since 2008 has he failed to finish in the top two.

The past year has again seen Ronaldo in dominant form and only a couple of weeks ago he won another Champions League winners medal as Real Madrid beat Liverpool in Kiev. He currently shares the record of five wins with Lionel Messi and he’s the favourite to win his sixth Ballon d’Or 2018 with odds of 2.0 available at Sportsoftheday.

Ronaldo had a few injury problems during the 2016/17 season, missing the last few weeks but he still scored 26 goals in 27 La Liga matches and overall, he hit 44 goals in 44 games for Real Madrid. That included 15 goals in 13 Champions League games. His international form has been impressive too and he ended the 2018 World Cup qualifying group with 15 goals.

An Unwanted Hat-Trick

Since 2008 Lionel Messi has always finished in the top two in the Ballon d’Or Award. His last win was in 2015 and he’ll be keen to avoid a hat-trick of second-place finishes to his rival Cristiano Ronaldo. Barcelona may have had a disappointing Champions League campaign, but they only lost one game while winning La Liga and Messi scored 34 goals in 36 league games. Overall, he hit 45 goals in 54 games for Barcelona in the 2016-17 season, a scoring rate less than that of Ronaldo. For Argentina he hit the vital hat-trick that saw his country qualify for the World Cup finals. He’s currently 3/1 to win a record sixth Ballon d’Or.

The Joker in the Pack

The last time anyone but Messi or Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or was in 2007 when Kaka was the winner. This year the top two again have a major challenger in the form of Liverpool’s Mo Salah. The Egyptian scored 32 goals in 36 Premier League games in the 2016/17 season, a big step up on the 15 in 31 for Roma the previous year. In all, Salah scored 44 goals in 52 Liverpool games, again just below the scoring rate of Ronaldo. He scored five of Egypt’s eight goals as they qualified for the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990 and deserves a lot of credit for that achievement. Salah could at least break into the top two as he’s currently 7/4 second-favourite with 888sport to win his first Ballon d’Or.

A Close Battle

The Ballon d’Or vote isn’t usually that close. In 2013 just, six percent covered the top three and that could happen again this year. Salah has had an amazing breakthrough year for Liverpool but not won a trophy and that might count against him. Messi has a La Liga winners medal, but Ronaldo has another Champions League victory and has been impressive with Portugal, so the odds look to be tipping just in his favour.

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