Ronaldo tips Neymar for Ballon d’Or
Ronaldo believes Neymar has “everything to be happy” at Paris Saint-Germain and told SFR Sport his fellow Brazilian is close to winning the Ballon d’Or.
Since Neymar’s world-record €222 million transfer from Barcelona to PSG last summer, there have been reports in the French and Spanish media that have suggested the Brazil international has regretted the move.
“I haven’t really spoken about it with him, but I think he has everything here to be happy,” Ronaldo explained. “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.
“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.”
One of the reasons put forward for Neymar’s willingness to leave Barca was his desire to step out of the shadow of Lionel Messi and become the star of his club. The Brazilian has scored 18 league goals this season and has assisted on another 11.
That idea is fuelled by Neymar’s ambition to join Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the winner of the Ballon d’Or, having twice come third, including in 2017.
Ronaldo picked up the honour twice in his career — in 1997, while at Inter Milan, and 2002, when at Real Madrid — and is convinced Neymar will soon get his hands on football’s most coveted individual award.
“I think that, each time, he’s closer and closer to winning this individual prize,” explained the 41-year-old, whose 2002 triumph was driven by his success with Brazil at that year’s FIFA World Cup in Japan and South Korea. “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.”