Real Madrid Superstar and Portugal Talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo was crowned the best player in the world for 2013 ahead of Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery at the FIFA Balon d’Or Gala held at Kongresshaus in Switzerland. He becomes only the 10th player to win multiple Ballon d’Or awards when he lifted the 2013 prize on Monday, January 13 2014.
The Portugal captain first lifted the prize back in 2008 after leading Manchester United to the Premier League and Champions League, and joins a prestigious list of players to have been awarded the prize more than once in their careers.
Ronaldo finished 2013 with a total of 69 goals in 59 matches for club and country, including 4 goals in the crucial 2-legged World Cup playoff win over Sweden in November 2013. In fairness to Ronaldo’s achievements over the 2013 soccer calendar year, he was outstanding but the truth remains that a fit Lionel Messi could have scooped the prestigious award for an unprecedented fifth time.
Ronaldo’s case was also bizarrely helped by the bumbling behavior of the FIFA President, Sepp Blatter whose utterance- claiming he preferred Messi to Ronaldo as the planet’s best player and of course the latters recent injury problems.
Due to the widespread criticism that the FIFA President received for his utterances, the voting committee for the awards extended the period of voting obviously to sway the voters to reconsider their choices as well as to accommodate Ronaldo’s heroics in the World Cup Play-offs against Sweden.
For a player of Ronaldo’s quality, many fans and pundits feel that he more than justifies the two Balon d’ Or awards he has gotten in the course of a brilliant career that has peaked over the last 5 years.
Born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro in Madeira Island of Portugal, CR7 is widely acknowledged to be unfortunate to have been in an era when a certain Lionel Messi held sway.
Despite the Argentine’s strangle hold on the award as the planet’s finest player over the last 4 seasons; kudos must be given to the Portuguese Champion for his relentless goal scoring brilliance and undaunting mien in the face of being constantly labeled as being inferior to Messi.
Ronaldo joins such illustrious names as former Real Madrid striker Alfredo Di Stefano, Bayern legend Franz Beckenbauer, ex-Liverpool and England star Kevin Keegan, former Germany hitman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Brazilian Ronaldo De Lima as players who have won the title twice.
The 28-year-old, who received 27.99% of the votes from national team coaches, captains and selected media representatives to win the latest award, sure has a lot of catching up to do on Lionel Messi’s Balon d’Or haul of 4 awards.
Ominously for his dream of winning it more than twice, the Argentine returned to action with a bang last week after a 2 month absence, scoring 2 goals in FC Barcelona’s 4-0 demolition of Almeria.
He’s only 26 but Messi has won 4 Balon d’ Ors, 3 Champions League titles, 6 La Liga titles, 2 Copa Del Rey trophies, 6 Spanish Super Cups, and an embarrassing number of other individual, club and country awards. For Ronaldo to enter into the pantheons of soccer demi-gods, he has a lot of catching up to do.
Can Ronaldo Clinch his third Balon d’ Or award in 2014?