LAUREUS' ANDRÉ VILLAS-BOAS OPTS FOR CRISTIANO RONALDO AHEAD OF LIONEL MESSI FOR BALLON D’OR
- ‘Cristiano should also be a strong contender for the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award’ – says Laureus Ambassador André Villas-Boas
- Villas-Boas’ APPACDM project helps those with intellectual disabilities
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PORTO, January 7, 2015 - Top coach André Villas-Boas believes that Cristiano Ronaldo should be given the Ballon d’Or World Player of the Year Award next week ahead of Lionel Messi.
Laureus Ambassador Villas-Boas, who has been manager of FC Porto, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur and is now in charge of Zenit St Petersburg, told Laureus.com: “In the past I have been in favour of Messi, but the drive, the ambition and the performances of Cristiano recently exceed limits.
“We are speaking about two of the greatest players in the history of the game. What I would say is that in this generation they are both incredible. I think Cristiano this year 2014 and also going back to 2013 has been amazing.”
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is also on the shortlist of three players for the Award, with Ronaldo and Messi. The winner will be named on Monday.
Villas-Boas was speaking after becoming patron of the APPACDM project in his home city of Porto to help children and adults with intellectual disabilities. He said: "When I was working at FC Porto, I used to live near the APPACDM project. One day I went in to find out what was going on. I was overwhelmed with what I saw and the love and care which the staff gave to the people who needed it so much.
“Sometimes these are the people in society who are the ones we need to help most, but Government support is not always enough. I am determined to do what I can to help.”
André Villas-Boas, whose Zenit team is seven points clear at the top of the Russian League and currently in its winter break, believes that sometimes Real Madrid and Portugal star Ronaldo wrongly suffers from his reputation.
“I think sometimes drive and ambition of individuals should not be confused as arrogance, and sometimes Cristiano gets that tag on him. He is a bit ‘chased’ publicly in some way and I do not understand why, but I think this kind of phenomenon happens to him.
“Cristiano does not get that margin of respect that sometimes Messi does, but you know hopefully this determination and passion has shown that for this time round he deserves to win it.
“I think also he should be a strong contender for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, although I know a team player has never won this individual honour before,” added Villas-Boas.
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