FIFA will name the recipient of the Ballon d’Or gala, an award for the world’s best football player, in Zurich Switzerland today. The speculated frontrunner was Lionel Messi, who has won the award for the last four straight years. But many sports bettors expect Cristiano Ronaldo will dethrone the reigning frontrunner when the final tally comes down.
The speculation regarding Ronaldo came about due to an extension of the voting deadline for the award. During the World Cup playoffs in November, which decided the final teams to qualify for the signature event in Brazil, FIFA announced the voting deadline would extend an additional two weeks beyond the initial award date at the beginning of 2014.
That two week extension allowed Portugal to play a friendly match against Sweden prior to the award date. Portugal is captained by Ronaldo, who scored a hat trick during the friendly match and lead his team to a 4-2 victory for the game.
Ronaldo expects his odds have improved to win the best football player award, but remembers his performance in the last three seasons was not enough to finish higher than runner-up to Messi.
“I did my job as I have been doing all season. Every year I show what I’m about. I’ve scored 40 or 50 goals a season and that’s not enough for everyone.”
Messi’s odds of winning the award for a fifth year in a row fell slightly due to a thigh injury that sidelined him for nearly two months at the end of 2013. Messi’s time on the sidelines allowed Ronaldo to steal the spotlight, and improve his odds from the perspectives of football bettors around the world.
The award is scheduled to be announced at 5:30pm GMT, allowing football fans to select their favourite player independent of FIFA.