Following Cristiano Ronaldo's stellar hat trick against Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden to qualify Portugal for one of the last few World Cup spots, he enjoyed a rare moment in which public opinion was unified in his favor. Normally dividing the world between his devoted fans and people who vehemently take issue with him caring about his appearance and not being Lionel Messi, Ronaldo was held up as the new favorite for this year's Ballon d'Or award by media and spectators alike after the match.
But with voting for the award suddenly extended to November 29, Ronaldo's performance against Sweden is at risk of fading from memory like everything else that happened longer than 12 hours ago. The following is a prediction of how the consensus favorite for the award will change in the coming days...
November 23: With the international break over, it is decided that club football has always been far more important than international football. Cristiano Ronaldo only scores one goal in a disappointing 1-1 draw between Real Madrid and Almeria while Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores five — all with backheels — for PSG against Stade de Reims. This proves that Zlatan is better, especially mere days after such profound disappointment, and that he can't be held accountable for Sweden's shortcomings. Ballon d'Or advantage: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
November 24: Video replays show that one of Zlatan's goals the day before was scored from an offside position. He is labeled a cheater who lacks the playmaking ability of Cristiano Ronaldo, who was filmed giving his shirt to a blind child after the Almeria match. Obviously he is a true team player and a caring individual and scientifically proven to be the absolute greatest footballer in the world and needs to be given a trophy for it. Ballon d'Or advantage: Cristiano Ronaldo.
November 26: Fernando Torres scores a hat trick against Basel, giving him six Champions League goals this season. He hasn't had the best season, but he's come so far from his lowest point and it's impossible not to like him, so why not put value on perseverance and give him the award? Ballon d'Or advantage: Fernando Torres forever!
November 27: Bayern Munich beat CSKA Moscow 18-0. Franck Ribery doesn't score any of those goals, but he was probably the reason they were so good...right? Ballon d'Or advantage: Franck Ribery.
November 28: A gif of Lionel Messi watching Barcelona from the stands and looking vaguely sad spread across the internet like pitiful wildfire. It's not his fault he's hurt, you guys. And he did so well when he was playing even though he wasn't 100 percent. Ballon d'Or advantage: Lionel Messi.
November 29: The deadline is here again, but since there's still a month left in 2013 that can completely rewrite the perception of the previous 47 weeks, FIFA decides to just hold the vote at the ceremony and declare whoever seems to get the most applause as the winner. This will ensure that the most relevant choice to that exact moment is made. Ballon d'Or advantage: Sepp Blatter's dearest friend, Tokyo Sexwale.