Ronaldo has been better than anyone else, says Ancelotti

The Italian coach has praised the prolific attacker's consistency and has stressed that this weekend's game against Espanyol is crucial for Madrid

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 international faces competition from Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery for the prestigious individual award, but Ancelotti is adamant that Ronaldo is the only one who really deserves to take home 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 Liga match against Espanyol and underlined the importance of the game for Madrid's title ambitions.

The Santiago Bernabeu side currently sit third in La Liga, 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.

"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."