Real Madrid

Cristiano Ronaldo Downplays Ballon d'Or, Hails Gareth Bale's Real Madrid Impact

MADRID, SPAIN - OCTOBER 30: Cristiano Ronaldo (L) of Real Madrid CF and his teammate Gareth Bale (R) jumps during their warming up prior to start the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and Sevilla FC at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on October 30, 2013 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images
Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistDecember 10, 2013

Despite all the hype and drama ahead of January's announcement of the 2013 Ballon d'Or, the one man who couldn't be cooler about the situation also happens to be favourite to win the award: Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid talisman was quick to play down the importance of the trophy this week, with beIN Sport (h/t the Daily Mail's David Kent) reporting Ronaldo suggesting that other players covet individual praise more than he does:

I think it’s not the most important thing in a career. Maybe it’s important for many players, I understand that, but it’s just an individual trophy, there are things that are more important than that, like having a fantastic career and winning things for your club.

It’s just one more trophy, so it’s good, but it’s not the end of the world if you don't win it. I can think of many great players who deserved to win the Ballon d’Or but never did, so it’s just a trophy.

While shirking any need to win the upcoming award, Ronaldo also lavished praise on Real teammate Gareth Bale, praising his fellow forward for how quickly he's managed to adapt to life in Spain.

The Welshman has seven goals and as many assists in just seven La Liga starts this season, according to Transfermarkt.co.uk, and last week scored his first hat-trick for the Bernabeu club.

Speaking on Bale's rise, Ronaldo added:

Gareth is doing amazing. He started... with some injuries, some small problems, but that’s normal because he didn’t do a pre-season and afterwards there was a lot of pressure, it’s hard.

Now he is in a good way, he helps us a lot, he’s integrated into the team, people like him, the supporters and the players, he's a fantastic player and I wish he can help us to win trophies.

Ronaldo's modesty on this occasion is in stark contrast to what some may expect of one of the best players in the world, who Ben Hayward of Goal.com recently announced would be opening his own museum in Madeira.

FIFA recently announced that Ronaldo was one of the three finalists for this year's Ballon d'Or, along with Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich and Barcelona's Lionel Messi.

Between them, Bale and Ronaldo are steadily firing their club back into La Liga contention and are now just three points away from joint league leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Though the Portuguese sensation may say it's just a trophy, Ronaldo would undoubtedly take some joy in preventing Messi from claiming a fifth successive world title.

He currently stands to be remembered as the second-best player of his generation, behind Messi, and only awards—individual or otherwise—can change that status.

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