Contrary to speculations that Ronaldo was absent at the Balon D’Or awards because he didn’t see himself lifting the award, the Portuguese was busy elsewhere.
The Juventus forward was crowned the best player in the Italian Serie A at a ceremony in Milan, at the same time his eternal rival, Lionel Messi was being presented the Balon D’Or award.
The Portugal International skipped the colourful Balon D’Or ceremony in Paris and opted instead for the annual Gran Gala del Calcio where he was honoured for his impressive performances in his debut season with Juventus in the Serie A.
Ronaldo had a stellar season with the Biaconeris bagging 21 goals in the Serie A to help his side win their eighth straight Scuddetto title. This term, he’s already found the net six times in 11 appearances in spite of the lingering injuries that has curtailed his performances and playing time over the last few game weeks.
“It is a proud moment to win this award,” the five-time Balon D’Or winner said upon collecting the award, which was won by Mauro Icardi, then of Inter, 12 months ago.
“I want to thank my Juventus team-mates. It was my first year in Serie A, a difficult league, and I am very happy. Thank you for voting for me.
“I will now try to repeat what I’ve done over the next year.”
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The former Real Madrid forward has been struggling with a problematic knee in recent weeks and didn’t react happily when Maurizio Sarri decided to take him off in Serie A wins with Lokomotiv Moscow and Milan.
However, Fabio Paratici, sporting director of the Turin giants insisted that Ronaldo – who finished just behind Van Dijk and eventual winner, Messi at the Balon D’Or – would remain at the Alianz Stadium beyond the end of this season.
“This talk makes me smile because there are other problems,” Paratici said to Sky Sport Italia.
“Ronaldo is ambitious and came to Juventus to prove he is the best here too. We thought he should have won the Ballon d’Or – the rankings are always questionable.
“He will be a Juventus player next season, without a doubt.
“We must thank him for making himself available to [Maurizio] Sarri, even though he has not been in optimal condition. Having not been able to train properly for a while, it is normal that he is not at his best.”