Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro says that his teammate Cristiano Ronaldo will win this year’s Ballon d’Or, with his Brazil international colleague Neymar’s time yet to come.
Ronaldo, 31, has been favourite to receive a fourth career Ballon d’Or since Madrid won the Champions League and Portugal won the Euro 2016.
“I know [Neymar] since we were young,” Casemiro told radio show El Transistor. “He is a great player. What Cristiano Ronaldo has done in the last 10 years should be remembered for life.
“Neymar has been there for three or four years. Ronaldo for 10 years. It is all still ahead of Neymar. Cristiano will win the Ballon d’Or again this year. With the year he has had, with the Champions League and the Euros, it is certain.”
Brazil captain Neymar made the podium for the 2015 award, while five-time previous winner Lionel Messi was second last year.
Both Barca players are thought to be in the running again this time around, along with Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.
However, the criteria to be used for the award have become less clear following a surprise break between organisers France Football and FIFA.
The split between France Football and FIFA means that this year’s Ballon d’Or will be voted on exclusively by journalists, with national team coaches and captains no longer involved.
A 30-man shortlist is reportedly to be announced on Oct. 25, with the winner to be unveiled before the end of December. This means there will be no shortlist of three players revealed in advance, and no gala ceremony in early January.
FIFA has not announced its plans for their World Player of the Year award going forward.