Ronaldo deserves the Ballon d'Or, says Ancelotti

The Italian coach claims that his prolific attacker's consistency sets him apart and has stressed that this weekend's game against Espanyol is crucial for Madrid's title hopes

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti feels Cristiano Ronaldo has been the best player of 2013 and deserves to win the Fifa Ballon d'Or.

The Portugal captain has been shortlisted alongside Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery for the prestigious individual award, but Ancelotti is adamant that Ronaldo is most deserving of the trophy.

"If we're talking about the Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo has been the player who has been better than anyone else in 2013," the Madrid coach stated at a press conference.

"Ronaldo is a unique player for all of his talent and his professionalism. He is a player who is extraordinarily consistent."

Ancelotti then went on to discuss this weekend's La Liga meeting with Espanyol and underlined the importance of the game for his side's title ambitions.

The Santiago Bernabeu side currently sit third in Spanish top flight, five points adrift of leading duo Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who face off at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday.

"We have to compete with two very strong teams to win the league. Atletico Madrid have been a surprise for everyone," he continued.

"Tomorrow's match is an important one. We want to end the first part of the season with a victory but we know they are tough.

"It will be a tough match but we have to do our best to win."