Brazilian legend Ronaldo has claimed that Paris Saint-Germain winger Neymar is getting “closer and closer” to winning the Ballon d’Or.
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated football’s most prestigious individual award over the past decade, winning five apiece and establishing themselves as two of the sport’s all-time greatest players in the process.
Neymar is seen by many to be the successor to the pair and cited his desire to win the Ballon d’Or and step out of Messi’s shadow as a major reason behind deciding to leave Barcelona for PSG in a world-record move last summer.
Compatriot Ronaldo – who won the award himself in 1997 and 2002 – believes that Neymar has everything he needs to succeed at PSG and suggested that this summer’s World Cup in Russia could be the key to who wins the Ballon d’Or.
“I haven’t really spoken about it with him, but I think he has everything here to be happy. He’s in a marvellous city. He’s in a team that plays very well, who’ve had a good start to the season. Perhaps he’s under a lot of pressure, but he’s used to it. I think this project is incredible,” Ronaldo told SFR Sport.
“He has everything to be happy and you can see that on the pitch. When he plays in a relaxed manner, happy, the results come. He pulls off great moves, scores beautiful goals. He gives joy to football.
“I think that, each time, he’s closer and closer to winning this individual prize. Even if the criteria are variable and depend a lot on team performance. I’m sure he’s close to it; 2018 is an important year. There is the World Cup in Russia where a lot of things can be decided.”
Neymar, who has scored 27 goals in 26 appearances for PSG, has previously finished third in the Ballon d’Or voting in 2015 and 2017.