And the award goes to Cristiano Ronaldo … again.
Ronaldo won FIFA’s 2014 Ballon d’Or Award, which recognizes him as the most outstanding player in world soccer in 2014. Ronaldo beat fellow finalists Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer in a vote of all 209 national-team captains and coaches as well as select journalists. Ronaldo claims the Ballon d’Or for the second-straight year and third time in his career.
“I want to become one of the greatest players of all time,” Ronaldo said, according to The Associated Press. “Of course, this requires a lot of effort and I hope to get there.”
Ronaldo, 29, helped Real Madrid win last season’s UEFA Champions League and Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup) and the 2014 FIFA Club World Cup this season. Real Madrid’s success and the 61 goals Ronaldo scored for the club and Portugal last year helped overshadow his disappointing 2014 FIFA World Cup in the eyes of voters.
“It has been an unforgettable year,” Ronaldo added.
Ronaldo received 37.66 percent of the votes. Messi (15.76 percent), who won the Ballon d’Or four straight times between 2009 and 2012, narrowly edged Neuer (15.72 percent) for second place in the voting.
The eternal duel between Ronaldo and Messi likely will continue in 2015, as they remain head and shoulders above the other players who inhabit the soccer world.
Thumbnail photo via Ennio Leanza/The Associated Press/KEYSTONE