Cristiano Ronaldo, the beast who needs to be dreaded by every opponent he faces. The Portuguese is to say the least, the greatest goal-scorer the game has had the good fortune of witnessing.
Having won everything at club level, the 33-year-old is nowhere in the mood to hang his boots any time soon. Ronaldo is simply unstoppable at the moment, and his individual honors will undoubtedly increase in the coming weeks.
Ballon d’Or is finally a three-horse race after almost a decade. However, the Real Madrid striker looks all set to lift his sixth Ballon d’Or.
That said, here are the reasons why the player has all but sealed the mega-prize for himself.
Lionel Messi is currently the closest contender vying with Ronaldo for the Ballon d’Or, alongside Mohamed Salah. The Argentine has been carrying his team’s attack all by himself this season.
However, Barca has been heavily reliant on him for all their creativity. Against Roma, they suffered a blow as the pumped up Italian side gave the Spanish giants a bitter taste of their own medicine.
Lack of further Champions League football has all but ended Messi’s hope for the prestigious award. No matter how hard he tries, Real’s progress to the semi-finals has made it hard to imagine the 30-year-old catching up with the Portuguese.
#4 World Cup
Being engulfed in club football, fans tend to forget that the 2014 World Cup was as instrumental in securing Lionel Messi’s fifth Ballon d’Or, as domestic glory. In 2014, Messi bagged four goals and ending with the Player of the tournament prize.
In the summer, the elites would line up in their national colors at the World Cup in Russia. Portugal are in a tough group, with Spain being the favorites to win it.
Although it would be a great conjecture to say that Portugal would be avorites to win the competition, there is no denying that the European Champions will be brimming with the confidence to at least make it to the last-eight.
Even a couple of goals in the group stage and an entry to the knock-out phase will work to Ronaldo’s advantage.
Moreover, that performance accompanied with a blistering start to the 2018-19 season could be all that’s needed to give the player his sixth Ballon d’Or.
#3 Leading the charts
The Portuguese was a shadow of himself at the start of the season. Added to his team’s catastrophic run were his goals which only came at a premium back then.
However, the tables turned dramatically for the legend in 2018. Since the turn of the year, the 33-year-old has turned himself into an absolute goal scoring machine and out of the blues he has conquered the top scorer chart in Europe.
In 2018, he has made 18 appearances in which he has scored 27 goals for club and country, in comparison to Lionel Messi’s 20 in 22 outings.
His total tally for the season stands at 41 goals and 7 assists in 38 appearances whereas Messi and Salah are tied on 39 each, not to mention their higher game-time.
From now on, Ronaldo will be playing more games than Messi at least. At his current scoring rate, it would be difficult to catch up with him, let alone establish a lead.
#2 Real’s utter dominance
A while ago, the Champions League crown had never been defended successfully by the holders, let alone being won three consecutive times by any team.
Real Madrid have a clear shot at lifting the trophy for three consecutive times after they managed to fend-off Juventus in the last eight, despite losing 1-3 at home. On the way to the semis, they beat top teams like Dortmund, PSG and Juventus.
However, they will now face top teams like Liverpool and Bayern who have been a delight to watch in the competition so far.
No matter what comes ahead, Ronaldo has yet another opportunity on the big-stage to showcase his extraordinary abilities and take the dream of Ballon d’Or away from any possible contender.
#1 His swashbuckling form
The calm way Ronaldo dispatched the decisive penalty against Juventus in stoppage time speaks volumes about him.
He absolutely smacked the ball home in the same extraordinary fashion he got himself into top form in 2018, after people literally wrote him off.
The Portuguese star has so far scored 19 goals in his last 10 La Liga games and 15 goals in the Champions League, which includes 3 against Juventus and 3 against PSG in the quarterfinals and the round of 16 respectively.
He is simply a colossus, how can he be stopped from winning anything?