Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has declared Cristiano Ronaldo will win the Ballon d’Or ahead of Lionel Messi.
The Portugal star, who won The Best FIFA Men’s Player award for the second time last month, is one of the clear favourites for France Football’s prize after firing Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League glory this year.
There had been rumours Barcelona forward Messi will be named the winner on December 7 after images claiming to show him with the trophy on the front cover of the magazine circulated on social media.
However, reports in Spain this weekend suggest Ronaldo has been informed he will win the trophy for a fifth time and has been congratulated by Messi on his achievement.
And Perez appears to have no doubt the 32-year-old will be successful when the outcome of the vote is announced.
“Ronaldo is one of our great symbols,” he told an assembly of Madrid members. “He is the leading goalscorer in our history. A few days ago, he won his second ‘The Best’ and this week he is going to win his fifth Ballon d’Or.”
Ronaldo has struggled for form in LaLiga this season, scoring just twice in nine appearances, and was frustrated again on Saturday as the champions were held to a 0-0 draw away to Athletic Bilbao.
The result saw Madrid fail to capitalise on Barcelona’s 2-2 home draw with Celta Vigo and means they remain eight points behind the leaders in fourth place in the table.
But Perez insists head coach Zinedine Zidane is the right man to deliver more success to the club, having guided them to two Champions League wins in a row as well as the domestic title last season.
“We achieved the impossible, regaining the Champions League and winning three in four years. The last one was the best in our history,” said Perez.
“We have a team to keep dreaming, with an amazing coach. He is one of our great symbols and icons. He’s the best leader for this team.”