Cristiano Ronaldo Hints at Target of 8 Ballon d'Or Awards to Top Lionel Messi

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2019

FLORENCE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 14: Cristiano Ronaldo of Juventus in action during the Serie A match between ACF Fiorentina and Juventus at Stadio Artemio Franchi on September 14, 2019 in Florence, Italy.  (Photo by Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo has said he wants to win as many as eight Ballon d'Or awards during his career in order to move clear of Lionel Messi

The Portuguese superstar and his Argentinian rival both have five apiece at the moment, more than any other players in history. 

In ITV's Cristiano Ronaldo Meets Piers Morgan (h/t MailOnline's Daniel Davis), the 34-year-old said he wants to pull out on his own before the end of his career:

"The most golden balls in the history of football. I will love it, and I think I deserve it. Messi is a fantastic guy and a fantastic player, but I think after I have six, or seven, or eight then I'll be more above him.

"My relationship with [Messi], we're not 'home' friends, but we've shared the stage for 15 years. I have a good relationship, and I know that he pushes me to be a better player and I push him as well."

The man himself is clear on his place in the footballing pantheon:

"I cannot control what the people like, some people like this player or that player. For me, [I am] the No. 1 in history. I know I'm one of the greatest ever in the history of football."

Ronaldo and Messi monopolised the Ballon d'Or, the most prestigious individual award in football, between 2008 and 2017.

Last year, though, Luka Modric slightly contentiously ended their decade of dominance by becoming the first player other than Ronaldo and Messi to win the Ballon d'Or since Kaka in 2007:

It is possible the duo may miss out again to Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk later this year after the UEFA Champions League winner beat them to the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award:

Ronaldo arguably is not in the frame for the 2019 Ballon d'Or after a relatively unspectacular 2018-19 campaign by his ridiculous standards.

After his move to Juventus from Real Madrid in July 2018, the Portugal international played a key role in the Old Lady's eighth consecutive Serie A win, but his return of 21 league goals in 31 appearances was his lowest since his final campaign at Manchester United in 2008-09.

Furthermore, Juve failed to win the Coppa Italia and, more significantly, were knocked out of the Champions League by Ajax at the quarter-final stage.

Ronaldo has, though, enjoyed another remarkable year internationally, helping Portugal win the inaugural UEFA Nations League and closing in on Ali Daei's all-time goalscoring record.

Ronaldo currently has 93 goals for Portugal, just 16 short of tying Daei's mark of 109 goals for Iran

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