Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged as the favourite to win FIFA’s prestigious Ballon d’Or award over rival Lionel Messi following the surprise decision to extend the voting deadline.
But it is understood that Ronaldo, who enhanced his case with his hat-trick in Portugal’s World Cup play-off win over Sweden last Tuesday night, could boycott the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich on January 13 in protest at comments by FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Ronaldo rose to the occasion in Stockholm on Tuesday night to send Portugal to Brazil and Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s Sweden packing.
The Real Madrid star scored a sublime second-half hat-trick in his side’s 3-2 win.
Ronaldo’s Barcelona rivals Messi has won the trophy for the past four seasons (as well as the Golden Boot award), and had another stellar 2012/13, but it was the Treble-winning Franck Ribery who was favourite for the gong until Ronaldo’s display against Sweden.
Ronaldo, who has scored three hat-tricks in the past month (two for Real Madrid and one for his country) is now in line to collect his second Ballon d’Or at the January ceremony.