Despite what some may say, Cristiano Ronaldo is worthy of taking home the FIFA Ballon d'Or.
That's not to discount anything that Lionel Messi has accomplished, because what he's accomplished has been nothing short of extraordinary. I myself wrote that Messi was a lock for the award only last month.
But Ronaldo has been discounted far too often and tossed to the side in the discussion far too easily for my liking, and a case should be made as to why he is equally deserving of the game's highest individual honor.
It's true that Ronaldo isn't perfect, that he disappears at times and can be incredibly selfish at others.
But there's no arguing against that fact that he is one of the greatest players in the world, someone with incredible control, a powerful shot and pinpoint accuracy.
All the evidence we need of his goal-scoring acumen came last season, when he scored 71 goals and 16 assists combined between matches for Real Madrid and Portugal.
He led Portugal to the semifinals of the Euros, scoring three goals along the way.
Oh yeah, and he led Real Madrid to a La Liga title, something that cannot be mentioned without realizing that La Liga is the best league in the world, making the feat all the more impressive.
Like I said, Lionel Messi is equally worthy of taking home the award, and when the votes are tallied, he very well may emerge as the winner.
But Cristiano Ronaldo cannot—and should not—be discounted as a contender for the honor as easily as he has been.
He is as worthy a recipient of the Ballon d’Or as Messi is.