Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague hasn’t opted not to include Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo in his La Liga player of the year conversation.
The 32-year-old has been pivotal in Madrid’s run to the Champions League final, scoring 10 goals in 12 appearances in the competition while reaching more personal landmarks and records.
While Los Blancos are also on course for the La Liga title this season too, with Ronaldo’s goals and general play being pivotal to that success too, it isn’t enough to convince Balague that he deserves to be included with the likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Antoine Griezmann, Marcelo and Isco.
The Portuguese international has scored 22 goals and provided six assists in 27 league games this season, which is a decent enough record in itself. However, Balague has explained his snub.
“It may seem controversial but, in my opinion, despite his heroics in the Champions League this season, his form in La Liga doesn’t put him in the top five,” he told Sky Sports.
“Ronaldo is now in physical decline. That is logical but he is transforming into one of the greatest goal-scorers ever, if not the best, but in this season, when he has finalised the transition from out wide to No 9 that started two seasons ago, we cannot ignore he has recorded the worst La Liga stats of his Real Madrid career.
“In his eight seasons at Real Madrid he’s never scored fewer goals, made fewer assists, taken fewer shots per game or created so few chances for team-mates.”
With over 8,000 votes cast already, Messi unsurprisingly leads the way with 47% of the votes, and it’s unlikely that there will be a major swing in the poll to see any of the other contenders surpass him and take the award.
This of course isn’t the official award though so La Liga will more than likely include Ronaldo in their voting. However, if Madrid win the title then it will be interesting to see if he still gets it or if Messi, the top goalscorer in Europe with 35 goals and counting, beats his old rival to it.