Cristiano Ronaldo feels at home in Zurich, and he intends to come back again and again.
The 29-year-old Portuguese superstar received the 2014 FIFA Ballon d’Or on Monday at a gala in the hometown of world soccer’s governing body. After claiming the award, Ronaldo outlined his plans for 2015. In short, Ronaldo aims to continue playing at a stratospheric level and return to Zurich in January 2016 for what will be his ninth Ballon d’Or (or its predecessor, the FIFA World Player of the Year) ceremony.
?I know how much hard work and effort goes into winning this award, and that?s why I still get emotional, no matter how many times I come here to receive it,” Ronaldo said. “I hope I?ll be doing so for many years to come.
?Every season is a new challenge for me. That?s how I have to look at things if I?m going to be successful. This Ballon d?Or caps a great season for me, and it also gives me the motivation to start 2015 with the same ambition.”
Ronaldo joined an illustrious list of three-time FIFA Player of the Year/Ballon d’Or winners, which includes the other Ronaldo (Brazil’s legendary striker), Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten and Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo has won the last two Ballon d’Or awards, but he still trails his great rival Messi, who has four to his name (between 2009 and 2013), in the overall standings. Surpassing Messi’s feats is one of Ronaldo’s biggest pursuits, so he likely will need 2015 to be like 2014 if he is to gain ground on the Argentine.
Time will tell if Ronaldo wins the Ballon d’Or next year, but he’s a safe bet (barring injury) to return to Zurich as one of the three finalists.
Thumbnail photo via Walter Bieri/The Associated Press/KEYSTONE