Fabio Capello believes that Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win this year's Ballon d'Or for playing a key role in Portugal's qualification for the World Cup.
The 28-year-old attacker has been in sensational goalscoring form all year and currently has 25 goals in 18 appearances for Real Madrid so far this season.
However, Capello believes it was his remarkable four-goal haul in Portugal's playoff triumph over Sweden, which included a hat trick in the second leg in Solna, which should see Ronaldo break a run of two successive runner-up finishes to Lionel Messi in the battle for the Ballon d'Or.
"This year Cristiano definitely deserves it," the Russia boss told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
"In recent years, he always deservedly came second to Messi but this season he has done really decisive things.
"Against Sweden in the playoffs, he carried his Portugal to qualification for the World Cup. It was impressive."
Although Messi is again in contention, Ronaldo's main rival for the annual FIFA award is believed to be Franck Ribery, who won a treble with Bayern Munich last season.