Ballon d'Or Winner Betting Special: Why there could be value in backing Cristiano Ronaldo

Our Spanish football expert examines the odds for this prestigous award and feels the Real Madrid forward may be overpriced compared to Franck Ribery and Lionel Messi

Following on from Sepp Blatter’s rather unconventional impromptu performance a couple of weeks ago, this year’s Ballon d’Or has a little added spice to it.

The president of Fifa was asked whether he prefered Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo and after some peculiar theatrics the head of world football admitted his preference for the Argentine.

Yet it is neither the diminuitive Argentine, nor the Portuguese that lead the way in the betting for this year’s award, with Franck Ribery the 5/6 (1.83) favourite with Bet365.

Having already been named by Uefa as their best player for the 2012-2013 season, the Frenchman’s dazzling displays in helping Bayern Munich achieve a stunning Bundesliga and Champions League double and a result have placed him firmly at the head of the betting.

He is ahead of the man who has won the prize for the last four years, in Messi, who has enjoyed another breathtaking year.

Yet the stratospheric benchmark that the Barcelona man has set for himself means his figures are less impressive than in other years, with Messi netting 45 goals so far this year, compared to the 91 with which he ended the previous 12 months.

Injuries have taken their toll yet Messi has still at times been utterly mesmerising and it should not be forgotten that his magic helped Barcelona claim La Liga title with a record 15-point gap over their nearest rivals in the last campaign.

Bet365 price Messi at 11/8 (2.38), but punters who want some real value will find it hard to resist what seems like an enormous price of 15/2 (8.50) for Cristiano Ronaldo to be awarded the trophy.

The Real Madrid forward is in the form of his life, having netted 62 goals this calendar year already. A lack of club honours for the previous campaign might go against him, although it is worth remembering that Ronaldo did end last season’s Champions League as the top scorer.

The Portugal international has put in consistently match-winning performances throughout the year, with his physical level seemingly never dipping below swaggering perfection.

Right now, he is in the best form of any player in the world and that reason is enough to make us consider a small investment in him to win despite him being an outsider for the prize.

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Phil Kitromilides is a sports journalist and TV Presenter in Madrid

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