Rio Ferdinand’s Ballon d’Or comments will worry Jude Bellingham after Champions League win

Jude Bellingham’s Ballon d’Or chances may be over after the Champions League final (Image: Getty Images)

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand believes Vinicius Junior’s contributions in the Champions League final have bagged him the Ballon d’Or ahead of Jude Bellingham.

The dynamic duo from Real Madrid were instrumental in securing a 2-0 win against Borussia Dortmund. However, Vinicius perhaps had the more direct impact after capitalising on a mistake by Chelsea loanee Ian Maatsen to score the crucial second goal at Wembley.

Prior to the match, Ferdinand had suggested Bellingham could be in line for the Ballon d’Or should he shine in the London final, reported the Mirror. However, despite providing one assist, the England talisman didn’t leave a lasting impression on the game, unlike Vinicius who was a consistent thorn in Dortmund’s side.

Ferdinand’s post-game reaction seemed to indicate a shift in his Ballon d’Or predictions, which now favour the Brazil winger. As Vinicius slotted the ball home, TNT Sport cameras captured Ferdinand’s immediate response as he exclaimed: “Vinicus has just taken the Ballon d’Or.”

He went on to say: “Is that the Ballon d’Or in the bag now? Has he gone ahead now for the Ballon d’Or? He’s been dangerous in the second half, then he scores and backs it up. The biggest moments in the Champions League this season, Vinicius has turned up.”

Vinicius has been a standout performer in Europe this term, with a tally of six goals and five assists to his name. His contributions have been particularly crucial in the knockout stages, where he scored four goals and recorded two assists against the top-tier ranks of Manchester City, Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig.

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Ferdinand had his say on the Ballon d’Or debate (Image: Getty)

In addition to netting the decisive goal in the final, Vinicius also notched a brace in the first leg of the semi-final clash with Bayern, which ended in a 2-2 draw. And it’s that type of influence that has Ferdinand leaning in his direction over compatriot Bellingham.

Discussing the prospects of Vinicius compared to Bellingham, Ferdinand remarked: “I think if you win the Champions League you put yourself in a great position. I think Vinicius is just shading it.

“I think his finish to the end of the season has been strongest. Goals in the big moments, but the Euros and Copa America is going to have a big part to play in the Ballon d’Or voting as well.”

Ferdinand said Vinicius “turned up” at Wembley (Image: AFP via Getty Images)

While it’s unclear if Bellingham will clinch the coveted award, Ferdinand does believe he surpasses many English midfield greats at the same age. Praising Bellingham’s maturity and mindset, the Red Devils icon added: “His mindset, his mentality we marvel at it.

“His ability we all see, but I think it’s the mindset and the maturity he shows. This is different. You talk about midfielders with England. We’ve been blessed with some great midfielders.”

“Stevie [Gerrard], [Paul] Scholes, Frank [Lampard] – we talk about these guys, but none of these guys have done what Jude is doing at this age.”