Cristiano Ronaldo refused to answer whether Portugal’s victory over the Netherlands will aid his chances of reclaiming the Ballon d’Or.
The Portugal star and his long rival Lionel Messi had won every Ballon d’Or for a decade until Luka Modric broke up that dominance with his victory in 2018.
It is expected Messi’s standout season will return him to the forefront of the conversation in 2019, and the Barcelona star will have an opportunity to pad his resume when Argentina take part in the Copa America this summer.
There also appears to be a new challenger in the form of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk, who helped guide the club to their sixth Champions League title, a narrow miss of their first-ever Premier League title despite posting the third highest point total in the competition’s history, as well as helping the Netherlands to the Nations League final.
However, Ronaldo may have made an argument of his own after helping Juventus to yet another Serie A title, while his hat-trick against Switzerland in the Nations League semi-final proved instrumental in his nation’s quest for their latest major trophy.
And with Ronaldo’s Portugal getting the better of Van Dijk’s Netherlands 1-0 in the final thanks to Goncalo Guedes’ 60th minute winner, there is some question whether the forward has vaulted himself back into the conversation.
But Ronaldo did not wish to discuss that in the mixed zone following the victory.
When asked if the Portugal’s victory takes him closer to a sixth Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo answered: “The goal for the match was to win and to play well.”
Ronaldo continued to be pressed as he left the mixed zone, but when once again asked about the award, told reporters: “No, I will not speak about the Ballon d’Or.”
The Nations League victory was a second triumph for Ronaldo on the international stage, following Portugal’s 2016 win in the European Championships.
Ronaldo scored three goals in seven games at that tournament in France, though he missed most of the extra-time win over the hosts in the final after going down with injury in the first half.
He also took part in Portugal’s run to the 2004 Euro finals, scoring two goals in six games, though the nation was defeated by Greece in the final.