After winning his second world player-of-the-year trophy, emotional Real Madrid forward sets sights on winning prestigious award again
Zurich: Cristiano Ronaldo set his sights on more Ballon d’Or success after finally ending Lionel Messi’s four-year domination of the award. Ronaldo was crowned the best player in the world once before, back in 2008 while at Manchester United, but since then he has had to play second-fiddle to Messi in the voting, finishing runner-up three times as the Barcelona ace claimed the title on a record four successive occasions.
Cristiano Ronaldo cries after receiving the 2013 Ballon d’Or award at the Kongresshaus in Zurich. Pic/AFP
However, the Real Madrid star was back on top on Monday night after being named as the 2013 Ballon d’Or winner at an awards ceremony in Zurich. The 28-year-old, who did not win any silverware with Madrid last year but scored a remarkable 69 goals for club and country, secured 1,365 points in the voting, with Messi having to settle for second place with 1,205 and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery third with 1,127.
An emotional Ronaldo paid tribute to his teammates and family for helping him win the award, and hopes to be back in the same position in 12 month’s time. He said: “I have no words to describe this moment. Thanks to all of my teammates, at Real Madrid and the national team. “Without all of their efforts this would not have been possible. I am very happy, it is very difficult to win this award.
“Everybody that has been involved with me on a personal level I have to thank. My partner, my friends, my son. It is a tremendously emotional moment.” Ronaldo, who has scored 231 goals in 222 games for Madrid since joining them from United in 2009 and last week passed 400 goals for his career, added on www.fifa.com: “I’m going to try to give my best, like I always do, and I hope to be back next year to win the third Ballon d’Or of my career. That’s what I intend to do.”
Back to the grind: Just hours after winning his second Ballon d’Or on Monday night, Cristiano Ronaldo (left) turned up for a practice session at Real Madrid’s Sport City. Pic/AFP
Despite being hit by injuries, Messi also had another memorable year in 2013, although it was not quite enough to see him claim a fifth successive award and he hailed Ronaldo as a just winner. “I want to congratulate Cristiano because he was the winner and deservedly so,” said the 26-year-old, who was also asked if things might have been different if he had been fully fit for the whole year.
“I don’t know if without the injury it would’ve been different. I was out for a lot of time, that’s true. But that’s neither here nor there. Cristiano merits it,” he said in AS. Meanwhile, Ribery expressed his deep regret at missing out on the award. “What more could I have done other than to win absolutely everything with Bayern?” the Frenchman told Bild newspaper. “Whether I finish second or third makes no difference. I’m no egoist and this title is not my aim — I’d rather win everything with Bayern all over again and then win the World Cup. That’s important.”