Neymar backs Cristiano Ronaldo – and not Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi – to win a fourth Ballon d'Or

Neymar has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to win a fourth Ballon d’Or ahead of his Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi after lifting the Champions League and Euro 2016 with club and country.

The Portuguese forward continues to prove his detractors wrong after scoring the winning penalty during the shoot-out victory against Atletico in May to help guide Real Madrid to an 11th European Cup in their illustrious history.

Despite operating within a side considered average at international level, Ronaldo also inspired Portugal to win the European Championship over the course of the summer, despite being cruelly injured during the final against France.

Barca forward Neymar has subsequently said he believes the former Manchester United man is closing in on Messi’s record of five Ballon d’Or gongs, awarded to the player considered to have been the best in the world over the previous calendar year.

Speaking to Lance, the Brazilian said: “Conquering trophies counts for a lot. He won the Champions League and now the Euros. He’s very close [to the Ballon d’Or]. Cristiano is a great player, I’m not hesitant on this.”

Neymar could only finish third behind the eclectic pair last time around. During the most recent La Liga campaign, Ronaldo scored 35 goals compared to Messi’s 24 strikes, although the Argentine’s season was blighted by injury and off-field problems.

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