Fifa Ballon d'Or: Cristiano Ronaldo unable to hold back tears after beating Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to award

The Real Madrid forward wins the award for the second time in his career

Simon Rice
Monday 13 January 2014 20:03

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Fifa Ballon d'Or for the first time since moving to Real Madrid.

The Portgual international beat off competition from Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery who were the other two players short-listed for the award which recognises the best player of the past year.

Ronaldo last won the Ballon d'Or in 2008 while still a Manchester United player.

In the summer of 2009 he moved to Real Madrid, for a then world record fee of £80m, where he has flourished, scoring over 200 goals and now in a position to hunt down the title of the club's all-time top scorer.

Yet despite incredible performances backed up by a phenomenal number of goals and assists, Ronaldo has been forced to play the bridesmaid to Messi, who has won the award every year since Ronaldo's triumph in 2008.

Ronaldo was the runner-up to the Barcelona player for the Ballon d'Or in 2009, 2011 and 2012.

As Pele announced the winner at the ceremony in Zurich, Ronaldo bowed his head before turning to kiss his girlfriend Irina Shayk.

The Portugal forward found it impossible to keep a grin from his face as we went to collect the award.

On stage, the 28-year-old had tears in his eyes as he thanked his family, girlfriend, Real Madrid team-mates and Portugal colleagues. He also paid tribute to Portugal legend Eusebio, who passed away last week.

In 2013, Ronaldo won fewer trophies than either of his rivals. While Ribery completed an historic treble with Bayern Munich, capped with the Champions League, and Messi propelled Barcelona to yet another La Liga title, Ronaldo only won the season's curtain-raising Supercopa. 2013 was a year of being second-best for Real; runners-up in La Liga and the Copa Del Rey, they succumbed to losing finalists Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

That Ronaldo was able to win the Ballon d'Or against this backdrop is perhaps a show of what an incredible year he has enjoyed personally. In 52 appearances for club and country he notched an astounding 62 goals including eight hat-tricks. He registered more shots on target than any other player across Europe's top five leagues, but it was not just his form in front of goal which stood out as he also contributed 15 assists to show that he can provide as well as finish.

With Lionel Messi's injury in November ruling him out until 2014, Ronaldo sniffed a chance to eclipse the Barcelona player and found arguably his best form of the year. The Real Madrid player beat his longstanding rival's record for number of Champions League goals scored in a calendar year that same month and became the first player in the Champions League's 22-year history to score nine goals in the group stage following his strike against FC Copenhagen. A record made all the more impressive considering he sat out the penultimate match in the group.

Away from club football, Ronaldo shined for his country and his greatest triumph of the year on the international stage came in the two-legged World Cup play-off against Sweden. The Portugal captain scored four goals over the two games to single-handedly drag his team to the finals in Brazil, overshadowing early Ballon d'Or contender Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the process.

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