Ronaldo hails his 'beautiful' triumph in Ballon d'Or

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The Independent Football

Cristiano Ronaldo yesterday became the fourth Manchester United player to win the Ballon d'Or as European Footballer of the Year after a landslide victory in a poll of journalists organised by France Football magazine.

Ronaldo received 446 points out of a maximum 480 and finished well ahead of Barcelona's Lionel Messi (281) and Liverpool's Fernando Torres (179). After scoring 42 goals last season to help Manchester United to the double of Premier League and Champions League, and being voted Player of the Year by the Professional Footballers' Association and Football Writers' Association, Ronaldo was named as number one player by 77 of the 96 writers polled.

"It is one of the most beautiful days of my life. To gain this trophy is something I dreamed of as a child," Ronaldo said on learning that he follows Denis Law (1964), Bobby Charlton (1966) and George Best (1968) as winners while at Old Trafford. "Great emotion fills me but I cannot really describe it. To the people who mentioned my name, I say thank you. Thank you also to my team-mates."

Ronaldo, who is suspended for the Carling Cup tie against Blackburn tonight, was praised by his manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. "We are very proud. Manchester United had been waiting for this for 40 years. Cristiano is in the tradition of our three other Ballons d'Or. His award is beyond all possible dispute," Ferguson said.