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‘He’s incredible’ – Former Barcelona superstar backs Real Madrid ace for Ballon d’Or

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Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking to the media, former Barcelona superstar Neymar has backed his compatriot and Real Madrid forward Vinicius Jr. to win the Ballon d’Or this year.

Vinicius enjoyed a spectacular 2023/24 season with Real Madrid, playing an integral role in the club’s La Liga, UEFA Champions League and Spanish Super Cup triumphs.

The Brazilian international finished the campaign with 24 goals and 11 assists from 39 games in all competitions, including goals in the semi-finals and the finals of the Champions League.

Naturally, Vinicius, who was named the UCL Player of the Season, has become the frontrunner to win the Ballon d’Or this year, with his Real Madrid teammates Jude Bellingham and Toni Kroos also understood to be in the running.

And Neymar has praised his compatriot, claiming it is a certainty that Vinicius would win the Ballon d’Or.

“As for Vini, obviously I think the Ballon d’Or is his today,” Neymar said, as quoted by ESPN.

Neymar backs Vinicius for Ballon d’Or. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

“I sent [him] messages before and after the [Champions League final] game. He’s a boy I love with passion, a great friend that football gave me. He will certainly be crowned with the Ballon d’Or.”

Continuing, the ex-Barça and PSG forward added: “He’s incredible. Carrying our country’s flag around the world and we’re really rooting for him.”

As mentioned earlier, it has been a spectacular season for Vinicius and one can only wonder how better things would have been for him if not for injuries which led to him missing around two months of action.

Only 23 years old, the Brazilian superstar will be the face of this Real Madrid team for years and years to come, along with Jude Bellingham, with the pair now also joined by Kylian Mbappe.

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Real Madrid News

Spain midfielder credits Real Madrid assistant manager for career success

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Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spain’s European Championship campaign so far has been one filled with revelations. From young Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams on the wings to the ever-so-solid midfield, La Roja have impressed across the park and have taken the tournament by storm.

One such player who has played a critical role for the team despite not being in many pundits’ squad for the tournament is Fabian Ruiz. The PSG midfielder has been sensational for Luis de la Fuente’s men so far, scoring once and providing one assist in two games.

Despite not having any direct links with Real Madrid, the Spanish midfielder interestingly credits Davide Ancelotti for his success and AS brings the story.

A chapter in Naples

Fabian Ruiz may have never played for Los Blancos in his career so far, but he crossed paths with the Ancelottis in Naples a few years ago.

Ruiz signed for the Italian club from Real Betis in 2018 for a fee of €30 million. At the time, he was not known widely and was just seen as another routine Spanish midfielder aspiring to make it big.

As revealed by the player in a recent interview, however, it was Carlo Ancelotti’s son and Real Madrid assistant manager Davide Ancelotti who first saw the spark in him.

“Meeting him was a very important step in my career. From the beginning, he backed me, and it was not easy to pay what Napoli paid for me, a player who had not played much in La Liga with Betis.”

“If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t be here. I have a very good relationship and friendship with him,” he added.

Fabian Ruiz credits Davide Ancelotti for his success. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

A special eye

Ruiz’s comments on Davide Ancelotti only make it clearer as to why Carlo Ancelotti holds his son’s advice in high regard. It is, after all, a testament to the tactician’s keen eye for special talent.

As revealed earlier this year, it was the manager’s son who suggested Joselu’s substitution against Bayern Munich in the UEFA Champions League semifinals when the team was on the brink of elimination.

What happened next was history as the veteran scored twice within minutes to turn the game around and send the Bavarians crashing out.

Davide has been rumoured to be interested in walking his own path soon as a specialist coach, but as it stands, will continue working under his father for at least one more year at Real Madrid.

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