‘I don’t know if Messi will be on Ballon d’Or podium this time’

Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi leavs the field after sustaining an injury during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against Sevilla FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 20, 2018. LLUIS GENE / AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo admits he has plenty of contenders capable of taking his Ballon D’Or crown this year, but doesn’t believe Lionel Messi is one of them. 

The Juventus striker is looking to claim his third title in a row, and what would a record-breaking sixth for an individual. 

He is currently tied on five with the Barcelona striker, who has been overshadowed by some World Cup stars, including the likes of Croatia’s Luka Modric and  France’s Antoine Griezmann. 

Ronaldo admits that he is desperate to lift the golden trophy for a sixth time, but is more concerned about French stars than Messi when it comes to who is standing in his way. 

‘Of course I want to win, this sixth Ballon d’Or,’ Ronaldo told France Football. ‘It would be a lie to tell you the opposite.’

Asked who he thought would challenge, he added: ‘The same as usual, even if I don’t know if Messi will be on the podium this time. 

‘So, let’s say Salah, Modric, Griezmann, Varane, Mbappe — the French in general because they are world champions.   

‘But I will wait and see if all these players are still at the top in 10 years, like Messi and I have done, and like we continue to do. 

‘Still there, on the podium, since more than 10 years.’ 

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