Cristiano Ronaldo Misses Out as 30-Man Shortlist for Award Is Announced

For the first time in two decades, Cristiano Ronaldo has failed to secure a spot in the 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award.

The Portuguese football icon, a five-time winner of the prestigious accolade, last claimed the honor in 2017. While Ronaldo had a promising start at Al Nassr in the Saudi Pro League after joining in January, his tenure at Manchester United during the first half of the previous season concluded tumultuously. Under Erik ten Hag, he found himself relegated from the Red Devils’ starting lineup, starting only 10 out of 16 games across various competitions, during which he scored three goals and provided two assists.

The 38-year-old athlete has made a remarkable comeback at Al-Nassr, adapting smoothly to his role as a trailblazer in the Saudi Pro League. Last season, he netted 14 goals and contributed two assists in 16 league matches for Al-Alami. Nevertheless, his efforts fell short in securing the league title.

Ronaldo’s absence from the 30-man Ballon d’Or shortlist is reminiscent of his arch-rival Lionel Messi’s snub in the previous year. This marks the second consecutive year that one of these two football legends has not been nominated for the award.

Messi has won the Ballon d’Or five times, two more times than Ronaldo, making him the favorite to clinch the award this year. His remarkable performance in the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where he secured his first World Cup victory, has largely contributed to this perception.

In contrast, Ronaldo had a disappointing World Cup campaign, managing just one goal in five matches. He was even relegated to the bench during the knockout rounds, with Portugal being eliminated in the quarterfinals by Morocco.

Patrice Evra Suggests Lionel Messi Would Have 15 Ballon d’Or Awards If He Emulated Cristiano Ronaldo’s Work Ethic

Cristiano Ronaldo, who is celebrated not only as one of the greatest football players of all time but also as one of the most industrious athletes the sport has ever witnessed, approaches training with utmost seriousness and displays unwavering passion on the field. Despite his illustrious career, the 2018 UEFA European Champion continues to seek avenues for self-improvement.

Former Manchester United teammate Patrice Evra asserts that Messi could have amassed more Ballon d’Or awards if he had emulated Ronaldo’s relentless work ethic, stating (via GOAL):

“I feel like Messi. God just gave him a talent, and Cristiano had to work for it. He had the talent, but he had to work for it. If Messi had the same work ethic as Ronaldo, he would probably have like 15 Ballon d’Ors today. I’m just in love with people working hard, so that’s why I pick Ronaldo over Messi.”

During his time at Manchester United, Evra witnessed firsthand the qualities and work ethic that define Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo secured his first Ballon d’Or during his tenure at Old Trafford and has since ascended to legendary status.

Throughout his career, Ronaldo has shattered numerous records, including becoming the all-time leading international goalscorer with 123 goals in 200 caps. Nonetheless, Messi’s World Cup triumph in the previous year has led many to conclude that the debate between these two players has reached its conclusion. The Inter Miami superstar has also amassed an impressive record of 103 goals in 175 international appearances for Argentina.

What remains indisputable is that the Portuguese captain, Ronaldo, continues to defy age and display an unyielding desire to win at Al-Nassr. In the new Saudi Pro League season, Ronaldo has already tallied six goals and five assists in five matches across various competitions.