Emissaries from France Football, the magazine in charge of the Ballon d’Or award, met with Juventus’s Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy, according to Corriere dello Sport. This meeting is being taken as a sign in Italy that Ronaldo is now the favorite to win the award, contrary to conventional wisdom which says Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool are more favored.
The meeting could simply be part of an interview for a front-page story in France Football, but the Italian media seem to think it might mean more.tory in F
Messi already won FIFA’s analogous award, “The Best,” and in addition won the European Golden Shoe and was part of the Barcelona team that triumphed in La Liga last season. Van Dijk was part of the Liverpool team that won the UEFA Champions League, and placed second in “The Best.”
Ronaldo won last season’s Serie A with Juventus and the Nations League with Portugal. He placed third in FIFA’s award.
“The Best” is the closest award to the Ballon d’Or, so Messi winning it would point to him also winning France Football’s award. Previous winners of “The Best” have gone on to win that year’s Ballon d’Or.
However, the Ballon d’Or relies on votes from the media only, as opposed to also including national team captains and coaches. That could mean a potential win for Van Dijk, who did better in the media vote than Messi.
Ronaldo has been considered third-favorite in most cases.
Both Ronaldo and Messi have five Ballon d’Ors, while Van Dijk currently has none.