Brazil Coach Dunga has thrown his weight behind Neymar to win the 2015 Ballon d’Or; as he claims that the forward is more deserving of the top prize this term ahead of his Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo.
The trio of Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo are the last men standing for the award, which will be handed out on January 11 in Zurich.
Since 2007, Messi and Ronaldo have shared the prize, but Dunga feels a shift in balance is ripe as he tips Neymar, who played a key role in Barcelona’s treble success last season to beat the hitherto dominant duo.
“I voted Neymar. It’s his time, but they’re all on the same level. [Ronaldo] was fantastic last season, but he’s not giving the same performances this season,” Dunga told reporters.
“It’s not that Ronaldo isn’t playing well, but he isn’t at the same level as last season. Messi was doing well until his injury, and Neymar is flying at the moment. He took the position of team leader [in Messi’s absence]. I think it’s his time.”
The voting for the Ballon d’Or opened on October 26 and finished on November 20, during a period where Messi was on the sidelines and Neymar took centre stage for Barcelona.