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Ballon d'Or winner: Why Cristiano Ronaldo's Nike boot leak suggests he will beat Messi


The Portuguese star is aiming to defend his crown and match the achievements of his eternal rival at Barcelona by taking the prize for a fifth time

Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo will beat Barcelona rival Lionel Messi to the 2017 Ballon d’Or, according to leaked images of his personalised Nike boots.

With the pair having dominated the most prestigious individual prize in world football over the course of the last decade, their collective tally is set to be taken to 10 on Thursday.

Messi currently leads the way on five victories to Ronaldo’s four, but it appears that the Portuguese forward is set to equal the Argentine’s haul.

Having already claimed the FIFA Best Award for 2017 and topped the Goal 50, Ronaldo has always been the leading contender on a 30-man shortlist to capture the Ballon d’Or , and Nike appear to have readied themselves for his coronation.

Paying homage to Ronaldo’s previous successes, the new boots have already added 2017 to the 32-year-old’s roll of honour.

It remains to be seen whether that scenario will play out, but there is not long to wait now.

The Ballon d’Or ceremony is set to take place in Paris on Thursday around 18:00 UK time  , with former France international David Ginola on hand to dish out the top prize – which is voted for by a group of 173 journalists from around the world.

Ronaldo’s claims to the crown have already been talked up by those he works alongside at Real Madrid, with Blancos boss…

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