Cristiano Ronaldo has scored an outstanding 41 goals this season and still has a chance to add to that tally in the Champions League final in Moscow next week. The Manchester United winger has undoubtedly been in fine form and is being tipped to receive the Ballon d’Or award.
But it appears the Premier League’s best player has some competition. Bayern Munich’s Luca Toni has also had a stellar season for the Bundesliga Champions, scoring 36 goals in all competitions.
His tally may be five short of Ronaldo's, but if Italy wins the Euro this summer, then it appears Luca Toni may become a hot favorite alongside Ronaldo to scoop football’s most prestigious individual award.
Luca Toni also won the German Cup with Bayern and made it to the semifinals of the UEFA Cup before exiting to eventual winners Zenit St. Petersburg.
Big performances in major international tournaments have been the deciding factor in years past, with Fabio Cannavaro piping Barcelona’s Ronaldinho to the award in 2006. Ronaldinho was in the form of his life and had just won the Champions League and La Liga with Barcelona. But a strong showing from Cannavaro in the World Cup earned him the Ballon d’Or award.
So if Luca Toni shines this summer for Italy in the Euro, and Cristiano Ronaldo fails to win the Champions League, then deciding who should receive the award may not be so straightforward for the voting body.
But even if Ronaldo doesn’t win the Champions League this year, he still has a chance to shine in the Euro 2008 as well. That means it would take some incredible performances by Luca Toni to pip Ronaldo to the award. And with Ronaldo in the form of his life, don’t be surprised if he’s the one who shines this summer and goes on to collect the Ballon d’Or.