'Ballon d'Or no longer debatable’
Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane insisted he has no doubt Cristiano Ronaldo will be the deserving winner of a fourth Ballon d'Or come January, but his hat-trick in a 3-0 defeat of Atletico Madrid on Saturday may convince others.
Ronaldo returned to haunt Atletico just five months after scoring the winning penalty in Real's second Champions League victory over their city rivals in three seasons.
In the final La Liga derby at Atletico's Vicente Calderon, Ronaldo's deflected free-kick opened the scoring before he doubled the lead from the penalty spot and completed his 39th Real Madrid hat-trick with a simple finish from Gareth Bale's fine cross.
"I never had any doubt. It is not his three goals that are going to change my mind," said Zidane on Ronaldo's case to be crowned the world's best player for 2016.
"He showed it all last season, he shows it in every game. There is so much expected of him, but he is ahead of the rest.
“Three goals in a match like this may make everyone agree, but for me there is no debate. The Ballon d'Or will be his."