TNT Sports pundit Rio Ferdinand has claimed that former Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo was “robbed” of a Ballon d’Or win in 2018.
Ronaldo and Lionel Messi dominated the Ballon d’Or podium for a decade until Real Madrid star Luka Modric broke the deadlock with a sensational win.
Modric catapulted himself to the top of the Ballon d’Or rankings thanks to his stunning influence for Croatia in his country’s 2018 World Cup campaign in Russia.
Despite Croatia suffering a 4-2 defeat to France in the final, Modric did lift a third consecutive Champions League title with La Liga side Madrid.
Ferdinand on Ballon d’Or snub for Ronaldo
Modric scooped France Football’s distinguished prize after securing an impressive 753 points, putting him ahead of Ronaldo’s 478-point tally.
Ronaldo, who had signed for Juventus in the summer of 2018 for £99.2m, played an integral part in Madrid’s Champions League triumph in the 2017-18 season.
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When discussing who has the most Ballon d’Or wins, Ferdinand said on his YouTube channel: “Messi. Seven against five. Ronaldo was robbed [of the Ballon d’Or], definitely one of those years.
“Definitely one. I think it might have been… it was that year, the Modric year.”
Ronaldo failed to make 2023 Ballon d’Or shortlist
Ronaldo’s absence from the 30-man shortlist for the 2023 Ballon d’Or award was the first time he failed to make the list in two decades.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner, who won his first award at United, made the shortlist for the first time in 2004 and would receive 19 consecutive nominations until the 2023 list was revealed.
Ronaldo’s previous season was engulfed by his troubles at United and subsequent departure, as well as Portugal being dumped out of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Ronaldo’s on-pitch rival Messi is considered the favourite to win a record-extending eighth Ballon d’Or award after leading Argentina to the World Cup trophy last year.