Current Ballon D’Or holder, Cristiano Ronaldo is expected to retain his title in January given the Portuguese has enjoyed another sterling 12 months. Although a finite criteria is still yet to be defined for the award, there’s little point arguing against the merits of Real Madrid’s finest.
There’s simply been no one to touch him, and even Lionel Messi has been left in the slipstream. In short, he is already a world champion in the eyes of the wider football family.
So why this obsession with having the little gold badge on the shirt? The one that defines the Fifa Club World Cup winners? The Portuguese has been clear in recent interviews of a desire to claim the crown in Morocco, to complete a clean sweep of club honours. That in some way the circle will not be complete until he’s added a second-rate Fifa competition to his personal trophy haul. Given the quality of opposition on show, with the greatest of respect to those involved, it makes little sense for the competition to be prioritised. Coming as it does slap bang in the middle of Real’s season, it has the potential to cause genuine problems for Carlo Ancelotti.
Luka Modric was recently ruled out for up to four months after picking up an injury whilst playing for Croatia, so the Italian can ill afford the loss of any more players in what amounts to a set of meaningless friendlies. Not forgetting too that Real have a sponsor-led game against AC Milan in Dubai before they resume their La Liga duties. All at a time when the rest of the teams in La Liga are enjoying a well-earned winter break.
Given Ronaldo’s own well-documented injury concerns, and the advice of Real’s medical team that he should be looking to slow down rather than play each and every fixture, isn’t this an accident waiting to happen?
And for what exactly? The right to say I’m ‘World Champion’…. By beating teams from a vastly inferior league and, in the case of Liga MX’s Cruz Azul, a side that are struggling in 12th position and only five points above relegation. Regardless of whether it comes at a cost to their La Liga and Champions League aspirations, where is the pride in that?