Cannavaro backs Sergio Ramos as Ballon d'Or contender

The 2006 World Cup winner believes that a strong tournament in Brazil would cement the Real Madrid and Spain defender's chances of earning a nomination for the prize
Former Italy and Real Madrid centre-back Fabio Cannavaro believes that a strong World Cup could secure Sergio Ramos the Ballon d'Or.

Ramos had an excellent campaign as his side claimed the Champions League trophy, scoring a last-minute equaliser to take the Lisbon final against rivals Atletico Madrid to extra time after a colossal performance in the semi-final thrashing of Bayern Munich.

And the former Inter, Juventus and Real Madrid man feels that Ramos could match his own achievement in 2006, where he was awarded the prize following the Azzurri's World Cup triumph.

"Sergio Ramos would definitely be in with a chance of winning the Ballon d'Or if he has a good World Cup," Cannavaro told Marca.

"If Spain enjoy a good campaign, I'm convinced he'll be nominated."

No defender has claimed the award since Cannavaro himself took the gong in 2006 after leading Italy to their fourth world title and he admits that Ramos would need Lionel Messi and current holder Cristiano Ronaldo to drop their standards towards the end of 2014 if he is to have a chance of winning.

"Generally it's a prize that's given to forwards, flair players with that X-factor," Cannavaro continued.

"I won it when Ronaldinho and Zidane were around and they were the equivalent of Ronaldo and Messi now. They are two superstars and Sergio needs them to be below-par [at the World Cup]."