Barcelona defender Dani Alves doesn't think Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has won enough big matches to warrant winning this year's Ballon d'Or.
In comments made to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo (via 101GreatGoals.com), Alves made it clear he believes the entire process has become a "circus" that doesn't place enough emphasis on winning as opposed to statistics:
I've had it up to here with the Ballon D'Or. It's as if the player who does the best campaign has the best chances of winning, it's a circus.
For me the player who should win it is the best player in the world, who scores goals and wins titles.
If you have to win best player of the year, your goals need to win your teams titles.
The veteran right-back went on to say Ronaldo's outstanding performance for Portugal in the World Cup qualifying playoff matchups with Sweden is overrated. He said a direct berth for the national team would have done more for Ronaldo's award hopes:
Cristiano has to be more decisive. He’s always scored goals, but important ones?
With all due respect to Sweden, they were goals in a playoff, this can’t be considered important; it’s a playoff, please!
For me credit comes from qualifying directly, not by a playoff.
Alves' remarks come after Ronaldo moved to the front of the Ballon d'Or conversation following his four-goal outburst over two legs against Sweden. Portugal was on the brink of missing the World Cup until the dynamic forward came to the rescue.
Clearly, the Brazilian international isn't as impressed with those performances as other people around the globe are. Whether it's a fair assessment is very much up for debate, but the comments certainly add another layer of intrigue to the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid.
As it stands now, Ronaldo is one of three chief contenders for the coveted individual award, which has been won by Barcelona's Lionel Messi each of the three years since the format was changed.
Ronaldo, who finished second in the voting each of the past two years, and Messi are both in the mix once again. But if Alves is correct and it comes down to winning big matches, Franck Ribery of treble-winning Bayern Munich will be tough to beat.
FIFA will hand out the yearly honor on Jan. 13.