Ronaldo has to win Ballon d'Or, says Isco

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The Spain midfielder has been nominated for the prize himself but has already admitted defeat to his club-mate

Real Madrid playmaker Isco insists Cristiano Ronaldo is the only worthy winner of the Ballon d'Or.

The Portugal star is one of the 30 nominees for France Football's prize, which he won last year, along with six of his Madrid team-mates, including Isco.

Ronaldo 2/1 top CL scorer 2017-18

The forward is one of the clear favourites to win the trophy after inspiring his side to a Liga and Champions League double last term, despite his struggle for form this season, in which he has scored only one league goal.

Isco admits it would be "a dream" to be among the final three nominees for football's top individual prize but says there is only one deserving winner.

"Cristiano has to win it, there's no question about that," he said, speaking ahead of Madrid's Champions League clash with Tottenham. "It's very difficult to be up there, it would be a dream.

"There are 30 nominees and a lot of them from Real Madrid. If the team is doing well, there are more chances to win individual prizes. I'm very happy about how things are going and I hope to continue like this."

Ronaldo ended his wait for a Liga goal when he struck a late winner in Saturday's 2-1 victory at Getafe, and Isco says there was never any real concern over his form.

"It was a matter of time; Cristiano is a lethal finisher," he said. "It is true that in LaLiga he's not been amongst the goals but in the Champions League he's been on fire. It's good for us because we need him a lot."

Isco's own place on the Ballon d'Or shortlist comes as a result of his exceptional form in 2017 for club and country.

The Spain international struggled for a consistent place in the Madrid first team during his first two seasons at the club especially but has now established himself as a crucial part of Zinedine Zidane's plans.

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"I try to go unnoticed," he said. "I don't watch the news or read what they say, I try to stay on the sidelines.

"We know that if you have a good game you are God and if you misplace five passes in a row, they want to kick you out of Madrid. You have to find the middle ground.

"I've improved. I've been at Madrid for five years and I've matured from a footballing point of view. I understand better how to read the game."

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