Sir Alex Ferguson has said Cristiano Ronaldo 'deserves' to win the Ballon d'Or this year.

The prestigious award is handed out at the end of each calendar year by French publication France Football to the footballer deemed to have performed best over the course over the previous 12 months.

A list of 30 male players have been nominated, with twenty players up for the women's award, ahead of a coronation on November 29 in Paris.

The favourite to win is Ronaldo's great rival and six-time winner Lionel Messi, who won the Copa America with Argentina in the summer.

Robert Lewandowski, Jorginho, N'Golo Kante and former Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema are also all ahead of Ronaldo in the betting stakes.

But United legend Sir Alex, who helped convince Ronaldo to return to Old Trafford this summer, believes Cristiano should win it.

According to Marca, the legendary former United manager said: “Cristiano deserves it.

“This year he's broken record after record.”

Ronaldo has enjoyed an excellent year in football, both for his clubs and his country, winning the Coppa Italia at Juventus, finishing last season as Serie A top goalscorer and claiming top spot as the highest international scorer of all time.

To top it all off, Ronaldo returned to Manchester United in the summer and has continued his fine form in England with five goals in six games.

Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes also recently revealed that he believes Ronaldo has 'never deserved' to win the Ballon d'Or as much as this year.

“The Ballon d’Or has only one name, Cristiano Ronaldo,” he told France Football.

“He has never deserved it as much as this year. Top scorer in Serie A and at the Euros. He holds the record for goals in Champions League and is the only one who has won everything in three different countries.

“He is the best scorer in the history of football. It is a decisive thing, it must be so for the trophy, because he continues to prove to be the best player in history.”