Former Italy and Real Madrid legend Fabio Cannavaro has backed Cristiano Ronaldo to win the Ballon d’Or.
Cannavaro is the only defender to ever win the prestigious Ballon d’Or when he picked up the award in 2006 ahead of Thierry Henry and Gianluigi Buffon.
Ronaldo, 31, is the favourite to land the crown this time out, having taken Madrid to Champions League glory and also winning the European Championship with Portugal in July.
With 51 goals in all competitions for Madrid last season, Ronaldo also found the back of the net three times at Euro 2016 but had to come off in the final against France due to an injury.
The two-time Ballon d’Or winner will have to contend with the likes of Barcelona trio Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, while Atletico Madrid’s French forward Antoine Griezmann is also in the mix.
Despite the strong competition and Ronaldo’s patchy form in the 2016-17 campaign, Cannavaro has no qualms about who should go on and lift the trophy.
“Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon d’Or, without a doubt,” Cannavaro told Marca.
“Even if he hasn’t scored these last few games, we shouldn’t forget all he’s done this year.
“Carlo Ancelotti used to say that with Cristiano [Ronaldo], it is like starting a match with a 1-0 edge.”
Ronaldo has been a pale shadow of his usual standards this season, with only five goals in all competitions.