Ronaldo retains focus despite new accolade

Click to follow

Cristiano Ronaldo insists winning the Ballon d'Or award will not burden him with increased pressure to perform.

The Manchester United forward was handed the prestigious award today to crown a phenomenal 12 months in which he scored 42 goals last season to help his club retain the Barclays Premier League title and win the Champions League.

Ronaldo, who came second behind Kaka last year, beat Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, second and third respectively, to the honour.

The 23-year-old's coronation was a resounding one, with 77 of the 96 writers voting him as their number one player of the year in a poll which formerly rewarded Europe's best player, but has been expanded to include players from all over the world.

And Ronaldo insists the accolade will only help to improve his performances.

"I always play with pressure because people always expect a lot from me and I don't think that will change," he told the club's website and television channel.

"Winning this award makes me feel very happy inside because it's one of the best days of my life.

"But my responsibilities are still the same; I want to continue to play well for my club and my country and try to do as well as last season.

"Of course I can improve - there are many things I still need to learn.

"You can never let yourself think you know everything. I am still very ambitious and I will continue to work very hard every day. I know it will be very hard to better last season, but I will try - if you don't try you win nothing. A new season means a new challenge and I want to help the team win more trophies."

Ronaldo added: "It's amazing that only four players in the club's history have won it, I didn't know that until yesterday.

"So it's special for the club and obviously for me and I feel very proud to be part of the history of the Ballon D'Or and the history of this club. You work hard to win team awards and personal awards, but to win this one is very special."

Ronaldo became the third Portuguese player to win the award after Inter Milan veteran Luis Figo (2000) and legendary striker Eusebio (1965).

Figo said his former Portugal team-mate's award was a source for national pride.

"I'm very proud that Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d'Or because he's the third player in the history of Portuguese football to win this prestigious award after Eusebio and me," he told Inter Milan's website inter.it.

Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz, who was United's assistant coach last season before taking up the role with the national team, also congratulated Ronaldo on his award.

"Cristiano [Ronaldo] has worked very hard to deserve it," Queiroz told the Portugal Football Federation (FPF) website.

"I want to congratulate him and emphasise this distinction."

The 55-year-old tactician was witness to Ronaldo's stellar season last term.

And after playing a key coaching role in Ronaldo's football education since his arrival at Old Trafford in 2003, Queiroz said it was an honour to see the midfielder claim the prestigious award.

"As someone who was responsible for his training and preparation at Manchester United, I am really proud for his achievement, which was his dream and ambition," he said.

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti hailed Ronaldo a worthy winner: "Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best and most spectacular players in the world."

Comments