It’s that time of the year where panels, pundits and fans debate about the most prized individual award in world football. Who should win the Ballon d’Or?

Some years it seems there is an outstanding player that the majority can agree on, and other years there are a handful of players that can make a claim and it takes some consideration to make my own mind up.

This year Neymar won the Olympics and Ronaldo won the Euros, and for me, these are the ones that make the top of my list. I know people would ask, “why not Messi?”

Yes I love Messi and I’m a huge fan of his but I think that there are a couple of key factors that swing it. Both of the players I mentioned before
have helped their respective nations to a trophy that brought so much happiness to their country. These are the trophies that were missing from all three players’ trophy cabinets, and all wanted to bring that glory to their country.

Messi found it hard and even had to take a break to come back to his national side. You could argue that the genius and magic of Messi is the real question, and of course he is those things.

But I pick Ronaldo. This guy is just so strong mentally and physically. He always comes back stronger. You love him, or if you don’t it’s mostly coming from envy because he’s so good.

I know he takes off his shirt a lot and spends a lot of time taking care of himself, but I love the game and I judge players on their performance on the field, nothing else.

At the weekend he got himself in the record books again, with his triple strike at the Vicente Calderon meaning he has overtaken the great Alfredo Di Stefano as the top scorer in Madrid derby history. As person I have no bad word to say about him either. He’s always been nothing but a nice guy whenever I have met him away from the game.

I think he is really the key guy at Madrid and normally they say at 30 you start to slow down as a player, but his focus at 31 shows you that he’s still right at his prime and still delivering the goods for club and country. This guy is great and I’m grateful we are able to watch players with this level of ability. I hope it will be like this for a long time coming!

I also hope when the time comes for these guys to hang up their boots we have new ones to admire.