EXCLUSIVE: The ex-midfield ace says the Portuguese's record-breaking exploits in last season's triumphant Champions League campaign were key in his selection for this year's prize
Former Valencia, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Gaizka Mendieta believes Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was the correct choice for this year's Goal 50.
The Portugal international claimed the prize for the third time, ahead of Arjen Robben and Lionel Messi as the full 50 names were announced on Monday.
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"I think he is a worthy winner," Mendieta told Goal. "If you look at the list, there are a lot of great players on there, but Ronaldo had an excellent season.
"He was key, absolutely essential, as Real Madrid won La Decima. He also broke numerous records, including the Champions League goals mark, so I think that's why he has won the award."
And he added: "Unfortunately, his exploits for Madrid meant he ended up injured and that showed in the World Cup - but it didn't stop him winning this award."
On the Goal 50 itself, Mendieta said: "It's an important prize and it is becoming more and more well known."
Ronaldo and Messi have now won six of the seven awards since Goal 50 began back in 2008, but Mendieta believes another player could win it next year.
"I think it's possible for another player to win it," the 40-year-old told Radio Marca. "In other awards, names are often repeated, but if you look at the top 10 in the Goal 50, there are very important players who can achieve great things and it doesn't necessarily have to be Messi or Ronaldo again."