Brazil boss Carlos Dunga believes the time has come for Barcelona forward Neymar to win the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
The 23-year-old will vie with usual suspects Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the individual award next month, and his national team Coach feels his own form, coupled with the perceived drop in his rival’s standards this season, puts him in a commanding position.
“I voted Neymar. It’s his time, but they’re all on the same level,” he told Marca.
“[Ronaldo] was fantastic last season, but he’s not giving the same performances this season.
“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.”
Neymar came fifth in the Ballon d’Or stakes two years ago, while Ricky Kaka was the last player other than Messi or Ronaldo to be decorated with the honour in 2007.