Ronaldo, Rivaldo: Vinícius Jr. already deserves Ballon d’Or

Brazil legends Ronaldo Nazário and Rivaldo have said Vinícius Júnior has already done enough to be awarded this year’s Ballon d’Or after leading Real Madrid to LaLiga and Champions League titles this season.

Vinícius scored in Madrid’s 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in last weekend’s Champions League final, securing the Spanish giants their 15th European Cup title and his second during his six-year spell at the club.

Rivaldo said Vinícius needed to step up his game and score more goals this season to clinch his first Ballon d’Or — the annual award presented by French magazine France Football to honour the best player in the world. After Vinícius scored 24 goals in 34 games in all competitions this season, Rivaldo believes he has done just that.

“He’s a very dedicated boy,” Rivaldo told ESPN Brasil. “He arrived at Real Madrid and went to Real Madrid B to learn. He played a few games and we could see that he still needed a bit of time to learn how to score. And he learnt! He trained hard and dedicated himself. Today, you can see that he has a much easier time scoring.”

Vinícius could add to his trophy haul this season when he competes with Brazil at this summer’s Copa América, to be held in the United States. Although Rivaldo said it can only add to his track record this season.

“So Viní is a player to be congratulated. He deserves the Ballon d’Or. Of course, there’s nothing better for him than to secure the award once and for all than by winning the Copa America now, right? Today he already deserves the award, but if he wins the Copa America, even better,” Rivaldo said.

Ronaldo agreed.

“I think Viní already deserves it [the Ballon d’Or]. He’s had a spectacular Champions League, a spectacular La Liga, and he’s been evolving more and more,” Ronaldo said, standing alongside Rivaldo.

“I remember that I did his presentation the day he arrived at Real Madrid and I got on well with him. I talk to Viní a lot about football and certain details and, looking at everything that’s happened, it’s a fantastic development that he’s making.

“I think his time has come. He’s been extremely decisive this year for Real Madrid. For me, today he’s the best player in the world by far.”