Neymar will be best in world next year: Ronaldo
Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar were named on the shortlist for FIFA’s prestigious Ballon d’Or on Monday along with double reigning title holder, Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the two best players in the world as of now but Neymar will eclipse them both come next year, former Brazil striker Ronaldo predicted.
FIFA has released the names of the three finalists for the prestigious Ballon d’Or on Monday, with the choice of world’s annually best player to be announced on Jan. 11.
Brazilians have been heavily in the voting over the past 20 years with Romario, Rivaldo, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Kaka being awarded the trophy eight times between the years 1994 and 2007.
However, the Spain-based pair have had a stranglehold on the award since 2008 bordering on almost myth, with Portugal’s Ronaldo winning it thrice (2008, 2013 and 2014) and Messi winning four consecutive awards (2009-2012).
“I would bet on Neymar next year,” Brazil’s Ronaldo said. “I think Neymar is still growing a lot and I think the growth of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi has reached its limit.
“Maybe they will be there another year or two and I think it’s natural that Neymar takes over that position in which Brazil has always had representatives.”
Ronaldo had hoped that his countryman would break the ongoing duopoly this year but was not confident enough whether the Barcelona forward would even be in the race given the stiff competition.
“I really want Neymar to win and interrupt the series of Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi,” said the legendary Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Barcelona striker.
“I think this year it will be between the two of them again. I don’t know if Neymar will finish in third.”
Barcelona’s Luis Suarez, Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski and Paris St. Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic are among the other possible contenders for the trophy.