Ronaldo: I Deserve Golden Ball

Never exactly lacking in self-belief, Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo is confident he will win the Ballon d'Or - because he thinks he deserves it, and that the likes of Lionel Messi and Xavi are not serious rivals.Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo is a front-runner to become the European Footballer of the Year - and in his opionion, he thoroughly deserves it. Ronaldo told La Gazzette: "I don't see any rival [for the Ballon d'Or] and I feel pretty much relaxed [ahead of the vote]." He also believes he deserves the 2008 Fifa World Player of the Year award. Ronaldo was in scintillating form last season, when he scored 42 goals in all competitions for United as they collected both the Premier League and Champions League crowns. Of course, his success reflected the contribution of his team-mates, but Ronaldo is not one for false modesty. He is claiming that he should claim the individual accolades. He told Gazzetta dello Sport: "Sincerely, yes, I'm confident. "If you assess what I did over the course of the season, I think I did more than everyone. What else should I have done to win the Ballon d'Or and the Fifa award?" He is actually on a 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, previously known as the European Footballer of the Year award, togeher with United team-mate Wayne Rooney and Liverpool's Spain striker Fernando Torres. Ronaldo also revealed that he played through 'torture' towards the end of the season, and at Euro 2008, before submitting o the inevitable and undergoing ankle surgery. However, he reckons he would also delay future operations if it meant he could appear in crucial matches. He said: "At times it was like having a knife in my ankle. "I gritted my teeth. I don't regret it. It was worth it. It was torture, also psychologically." Now fully fit, he is targeting back-to-back Champions League titles after last season's win in Moscow. "I want a second Champions League, Manchester United have everything to focus on this. But I am wary of Inter and Juventus."


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