Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has seen off competition from Bayrn Munich’s Manuel Neuer and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to win the prestigious Fifa Ballon d’Or for the second time running.
The award comes as a result of string of sensational individual performances in 2014. The Portugal captain scored an impressive 56 goals in 60 games for Real Madrid and was an influential figure for his side as the Los Blancos landed the La Decima, with Ronaldo netting 17 times in the Champions League.
The award started in 2010 after France Football’s Ballon d’Or and the men’s FIFA World Player of the Year award were merged.
Ronaldo got 37.66% of all votes ahead of Lionel Messi (15.76%) and Manuel Neuer (15.72%).
Germany stopper had a year to remember, both with club and country, where his telling contribution led to Germany winning the 2014 World Cup, and Bayern Munich landing the domestic double. Messi, who was last year’s runner-up, had won the award on four successive from 2009. The Barcelona star helped his Argentina side to the World Cup finals, where they were eventually beaten by Germany. Both Neuer and Messi were no match though, as Ronaldo’s goals proved decisive.
The Real Madrid icon, who retained the award, also won the Ballon d’or in 2008 with Manchester United. With this acclaim, Ronaldo joins Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten in the elite list of having triumphed thrice for the coveted prize.
Ronaldo, who also won the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, has been a revelation for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season, having already bagged an astounding 31 goals, which includes 26 La Liga strikes.
Sunil A Markal
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