Former Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo is now the odds on favourite to win this year’s Ballon d’Or after firing Portugal to next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
The 28 year old scored a stunning hat-trick to secure a 3-2 victory over Sweden in the second leg of their play-off yesterday evening, in doing so replaces Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery at the head of the market.
At club level, Ronaldo has twenty-four goals in just seventeen games for Real Madrid, though the currently sit in third place in La Liga – six points behind leaders Barcelona.
Lionel Messi has won the Ballon d’Or in each of the past four seasons, while Ronaldo took the honour in 2008 after scoring 42 goals to help United to the Premier League and Champions League titles.
Robin van Persie, who was United’s top scorer last season, is also on the shortlist this time around, but is a 100/1 outside though he is the favourite of the five players nominated who currently ply their trade in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, three United players featured in England’s 1-0 defeat to Germany at Wembley yesterday evening.
Chris Smalling played the entire match, while Wayne Rooney and Tom Cleverley both managed seventy-one and sixty-four minutes respectively.