XtraTime Web Desk: Real Madrid are to enter the new season without a Ballon D’or winner amongst their ranks for the first time in almost 20 years due to Cristiano Ronaldo’s retreat.
The Portugal star CR7, costing 61 million euros arrived in the summer of 2000 and won the consecutive award in 2001’s January before being paired with 1998 Ballon d’Or winner Zinedine Zidane the successive summer.
Over the following years, Ronaldo Nazario arrived off the back of his 2002 win and 2001 victor Michael Owen soon joined the club.
As those players left, 2006 saw Madrid snap up World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro for just 7m euros off the back of Juventus’ match-fixing scandal imposed relegation.
It was the same year the defender lifted the Ballon d’Or and he remained the club’s sole representative until the summer of 2009 and Florentino Perez’s return to the presidency, heralding the arrival of Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo.
The pair were already winners of the individual award and Ronaldo would go on to lift it four more times thanks to his form with Real and Portugal.
Now, Los Blancos enter the 2018/19 campaign without a Ballon d’Or winner in their midsts.
Certainly, Luka Modric or Raphael Varane can be considered in with a shout, but the most open race in years makes predicting a winner a fool’s game.