Real Madrid

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo Confirms He Will Attend Ballon d'Or Ceremony

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 06:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF in action during the La Liga match between Real Madrid CF and RC Celta de Vigo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium on January 6, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images
Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 7, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo has confirmed he will attend the Ballon d'Or ceremony Jan. 13.

As reported by AS (via Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC), the Real Madrid star has ended speculation suggesting he wouldn't show unless guaranteed to take the prize:

"That subject is closed and I do not want to talk any more about it," Ronaldo said. "I can only say that I will go to the gala. If I win then very good, and if not then life goes on."

Ronaldo is tipped to take the prize after a sensational 12 months of individual success.

Highlights include his terrific hat-trick in the second leg of Portugal's World Cup qualification playoff against Sweden, 20 goals in 17 games during the current La Liga season, according to WhoScored.com, and scoring his 400th career strike in Los Blancos' recent 3-0 win over Celta Vigo, per Telegraph Sport.

As tweeted by OptaJose, wide-ranging and impressive stats keep on coming for the 28-year-old:

While Franck Ribery has achieved greater team success with Bayern Munich—winning a quintet of trophies throughout 2013—Ronaldo's individual brilliance is likely to give him the edge when the final votes are counted.

Lionel Messi, the current Ballon d'Or holder and four-time winner, is readying himself for a return to action after suffering a run of injuries throughout the season, per BBC Sport.

His time on the sideline—combined with one goal in five matches between Oct. 19 and Nov. 1, per WhoScored.com—leave him facing a major challenge to topple either of his competitors.

Ronaldo's relationship with Gareth Bale continues to blossom, and 2014 should be an entertaining year for those who support the Bernabeu club, especially as Carlo Ancelotti's men look to overcome Atletico Madrid and Barcelona for the domestic championship.

With Messi's return to fitness and Ribery continuing to dominate in the Bundesliga, it's likely this year's final three will be among the running for next year's Ballon d'Or prize as well.

It is important all three attend the event. Without the leading nominees, the prestige of FIFA's award is called into question.

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