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The defender scored in both the semifinal and final of the Champions League and has been backed to be a leading contender for the game's biggest individual prize

Sergio Ramos should be considered a contender for the Ballon d'Or, according to former Real Madrid defender Manuel Sanchis.

The 28-year-old scored twice in the Champions League semifinal second-leg victory over Bayern Munich and then headed home a dramatic injury-time equalizer against Atletico Madrid in the final.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have won the award for the last six years, but Sanchis believes the time has come for the Madrid defender to be recognized for his efforts at both ends of the pitch.

Sanchis said: "We've known for a long time that Ramos is the best defender in the world, I've never doubted that.

"I already put him amongst the candidates for the Ballon d'Or. A player of his quality and performance has to be considered.

"I have a theory that teams are built from back to front. The center of defense is crucial because you have the ability to dictate and Sergio influences because his game is not only defense. He's a complete player."

Ramos joined Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 and has gone on to make nearly 300 appearances for the club.

He has also enjoyed incredible success with Spain, having won the World Cup once and European Championship twice.

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