November 23, 2018 / 1:51 PM / 22 days ago

Juve boss Allegri says Ronaldo deserves Ballon D’Or

ROME (Reuters) - Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri believes Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to win the Ballon D’Or, following media reports that the forward has not been short-listed for the award’s final three for the first time since 2010.

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group Stage - Group H - Juventus v Manchester United - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - November 7, 2018 Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri before the match REUTERS/Massimo Pinca/File Photo

The Portugal international has won the prize, run by French magazine France Football and awarded to the world’s best player annually, five times and finished as runner-up five times since 2007.

Yet Italian and French media have reported that the podium for this year’s prize will be made up of Paris St Germain’s Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric and Raphael Varane of Real Madrid.

The winner will be named at a ceremony in Paris on Dec. 3.

“He is doing well and yesterday he trained well. For what he has done, as I’ve said several times, he would deserve the Ballon D’Or,” Allegri said.

Allegri shot down suggestions that his side are facing an injury crisis in midfield ahead of the visit of SPAL in Serie A on Saturday.

Sami Khedira and Emre Can are sidelined with injuries, but their absences do not overly concern the coach.

“We will need to play with who we have,” he said.

“(Blaise) Matuidi returned today because he needed a few days of rest. We have (Miralem) Pjanic and (Rodrigo) Bentancur available, we will find a solution with who we’ve got. We are not in an emergency.”

Allegri confirmed that Mattia Perin will start in goal and Ronaldo will line up alongside Mario Mandzukic in attack.

Paulo Dybala is likely to be rested, having only returned from international duty on Thursday, but the Juventus coach is encouraged by the forward’s development after he scored his first goal for Argentina against Mexico on Tuesday.

“It’s a step forward for him,” said Allegri.

“He is constantly growing, this year he has started very well and he is in a great physical and mental state.

“His development must not stop, it depends on how much he wants it.”

Juventus hold a six-point advantage over second-placed Napoli at the top of Serie A and remain unbeaten this season with 11 wins and a draw from 12 games, while SPAL are in 15th with 13 points.

Reporting by Alasdair Mackenzie; Editing by Toby Davis

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