With 38 goals in all competitions, and having scored most of them as an outside winger, Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo is the odds-on favorite to win the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) for 2008. His stiffest competition will be Bayern Munich's Luca Toni, who is having an equally stunning campaign, having found the net 36 times in all competitions. Toni has already led his team to the German Cup title, the Bundesliga title is all but a mathematical certainty, and his team is also still in the UEFA Cup semifinals. Ronaldo's team, meanwhile, must win its remaining two games to be assured of the English Premier League title, and must beat Barcelona at Old Trafford to reach the UEFA Champions League final.
In the end, Italian papers claim that the fate of the
prestigious award may come down to which player has a better tournament at the European Championship in Austria and Switzerland in June, as in the past, big performances at major international
tournaments count the most in deciding who wins the Golden Ball (former European Player of the Year) and World Player of the Year awards.