Real Madrid Coach Carlo Ancelotti can see no contenders other than Cristiano Ronaldo to be named the best player in Europe this year.
Ancelotti was speaking after Ronaldo’s hat-trick helped decimate Athletic Bilbao in a 5-0 romp, Karim Benzema getting the other two goals.
The treble was Ronaldo’s third in four League games to bring his tally to 13 goals, and Ancelotti believes the Portugal captain is peerless across the continent.
“I think there can be no doubt about Cristiano for the Ballon d’Or this year. There’s no putting money on it,” he said, AS reports.
“All three of our forwards were fantastic. Cristiano and Benzema scored but Bale made assists and worked hard.
“It’s essential to work together. The midfield was good too.
“With the ball we have three in midfield and without it, Bale helps us defend and makes a line of four. James then moves to the left. We’re adapting and eager to learn.
“This was our best game, much better than last year at this point. What we need now is continuity. We were more attentive at set-pieces and kept a clean sheet. Everything went well.”
Ancelotti was asked if the imminent international break was therefore coming at a bad time for his side.
“I’m not worried about that. I just want to avoid problems and injuries,” he replied.
“When the League starts again there is a very important period. We play Levante, Liverpool and Barcelona.
“I just hope we’re the same then as we were today. We’re satisfied. We played as we always do and everything went well in attack and defence. The whole team played a great game.
“The full-backs were very important because having three in midfield means they do a lot of work. They’re combining well and the team is well physically.
“We’re not testing things and we’re not going to change anything. We’re trying to adapt to the new players. But the players are comfortable with this system.”
Ancelotti also explained why Sergio Ramos was substituted at half-time, and gave his thoughts on the dance celebration of Ronaldo, James and Marcelo.
“I didn’t see it but it’s normal. The important thing is they were respectful. It’s a friendly and I guess it’s something they wanted to try,” he said regarding the trio’s moves.
“Ramos had a sore calf, on his right leg. He wasn’t comfortable and wanted to avoid problems. Tomorrow he’ll have a test. Then we’ll think about the national team.”