‘ I never thought I would win this trophy on three occasions’
PORTUGUESE and Real Madrid great Cristiano Ronaldo won his third Ballon d’Or at the FIFA ceremony in Zurich last night.
The 29-year-old – who played a key role in Real Madrid’s charge to a 10th Champions League trophy – beat eternal rival and four-time winner Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Germany’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Ronaldo was the star of the night in which Real teammate James Rodriguez won the goal of the year award and Germany’s Joachim Loew was declared coach of the year.
“I never thought I would win this trophy on three occasions,” Ronaldo said in his victory speech, signalling there would be no letup in his quest for football glory.
“I want to be one of the greatest players of all time and of course this requires a lot of effort,” the Portuguese striker, who also won the award in 2008 and 2013, said.
Ronaldo led Real Madrid to their 10th European Champions League crown in sensational style last year, smashing Messi’s record of 15 Champions League goals in a single season with 17 in just 11 appearances.
Other awardwinners at the Ballon d’Or ceremony:
Woman player of the year: Nadine Kessler (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Men’s team coach of the year: Joachim Loew (Germany/Allemagne)
Women’s team coach of the year: Ralf Kellermann (Germany/Wolfsburg)
Puskas prize for best goal: James Rodriguez (Colombia/Real Madrid)
Fairplay: Brazil 2014 World Cup volunteers
Presidents prize: Hiroshi Kagawa (Japan), oldest journalist (89) at last year’s World Cup finals which was the 10th one he had covered.
Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich); Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), Thiago Silva (Brazil/Paris SG), David Luiz (Brazil/Paris SG), Philipp Lahm (Germany/Bayern Munich); Andrés Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Ángel Di Maria (Argentina/Manchester United); Arjen Robben (Netherlands/Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid)