MADRID, Spain — Cristiano Ronaldo paraded his Ballon d’Or trophy and scored his league-leading 22nd goal, helping Real Madrid to provisionally move to the top of the Spanish league with a 2-0 win over Granada on Saturday.
Ronaldo soaked up an ovation from fans in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium as he held up his award for the best player in the world in 2013 before the game, which he then put his stamp on with a pinpoint strike to score in the 56th minute.
Ronaldo had wept when Pele announced his name at the Ballon d’Or gala, but he kept his emotions in check back at his home grounds, saying it was “a different afternoon” that left him “very moved.”
“I’m very happy because my fans have helped me so much during these past years,” Ronaldo said. “The Ballon d’Or is for the equipment managers, the trainers … for all the people who work for Real Madrid. It’s for everyone.”
Karim Benzema sealed Madrid’s ninth straight win — and seventh consecutive shutout — in all competitions in the 74th, moments after Ronaldo’s deflected free kick clipped the crossbar. Madrid moved two points above Barcelona and Atletico Madrid before they play games on Sunday.
“My team is playing perfectly in 2014,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “It has balance between attack and defense. That’s the key. We haven’t won any silverware yet … but our games in 2014 have been perfect.”
Madrid fans greeted Ronaldo with an enormous mosaic stretching across a wide section of seating that read “CR7” — Ronaldo’s nickname composed of his initials and shirt number. Ronaldo responded by lifting his award with one hand while waving to his supporters with the other. He then called his teammates and veteran stadium manager Agustin Herrerin to pose with him for photos.
See photos of Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or at the Bernabeu below.
Top photo via Facebook/Cristiano Ronaldo
Bottom photo via Facebook/Real Madrid C.F.