Can anybody stop Cristiano Ronaldo? That’s the biggest question in this particular betting market given that the Portugal and Real Madrid man has swept all before him once again.
Fresh from guiding his country to glory at the European Championships in the summer of 2016, Ronaldo enjoyed almost the perfect 2016/17 campaign in Madrid too. Real achieved the double – winning the La Liga from perennial rivals Barcelona, and lifting the Champions League crown as well. That final, against Juventus, was notable for Ronaldo’s brace of goals that sealed a 4-1 win for the Galacticos.
The FIFA Ballon D’Or is an award that simply goes to the best player in the world, and the one that has made the most contribution to his team in the season just gone. Ronaldo, the impresario of the Portuguese national side and still the shining light of a talent-packed Real Madrid outfit, duly fits the bill.
You wonder how much it has driven him on watching Lionel Messi, a fellow superstar it’s fair to say he’s on tetchy terms with, receive five Ballon D’Or trophies in a spell of dominance between 2009-2015. Perhaps for Ronaldo, personal pride is what spurs him on to eclipse his greatest rivals.
1. Ballon d’Or Winner Odds
At 1.05, the bookmakers’ odds speak for themselves: Cristiano Ronaldo will win the 2017 Ballon D’Or unless something truly remarkable happens. It would take a scandal of Watergate-esque standing to prevent the Portuguese frontman claiming his fifth trophy.
2017 Ballon d'Or Winner - Best odds
2. Will Ronaldo Claim His 5th Trophy?
So who are the rest of his competitors? Naturally Lionel Messi is in the mix, although at odds of 15.00 the bookies aren’t exactly convinced the Argentine stands much of a chance. By any mere mortal’s standards it was another fine campaign for Messi with goals and assists galore, but with Barcelona failing to win a major trophy his chances of a sixth Ballon D’Or are remote; likewise clubmates Luis Suarez and Neymar (both 41.00).
It’s been a decade since a player other than Ronaldo or Messi won this award; Kaka back in 2007. The next best in the betting after that fearsome duo is Gigi Buffon, the evergreen goalkeeper who helped Juventus to yet another Serie A title and the Champions League final.
But keepers don’t tend to fare that well in the Ballon D’Or reckoning – none since Lev Yashin in 1963 has claimed the honour – so his chances of winning are slim.
Indeed, the trend is for attacking players to lift this trophy, with only one defender in the past 20 years taking the spoils; Fabio Cannavaro in 2006. But if any defender can upset that trend it could be Sergio Ramos, who at 26.00 is fantastic value if you can find a sportsbook willing to take each way bets in this market.
The Spaniard has been part of this all-conquering Real Madrid side for a decade, and in that time he has won countless medals for his collection. Is he as dynamic a figure as Ronaldo? Perhaps not, but he is still a lynchpin of one of the finest club sides of the modern era.