Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has been awarded the 2013 Ballon d’Or, beating Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery to the crown of world’s best player.
It is the 28-year-old’s first Ballon d’Or win since 2008, and he couldn’t have been more appreciative of the award.
The Portuguese captain took his young son on stage with him to receive the trophy from Brazil legend Pele and FIFA president Sepp Blatter, and could barely get his words out, such was the overwhelming emotion of the event.
“First of all, I have to say a great thanks to all of my team-mates with the club and the national team,” Ronaldo said tearfully,
“Without all of their efforts this would not have been possible. I am very happy, it is very difficult to win this award.
“Everybody that has been involved with me on a personal level, I have to thank. My wife, my friends, my son. It is a tremendously emotional moment. All I can say is thank you to everybody that has been involved.”
The Real Madrid man enjoyed a stellar year in the Spanish capital, scoring 66 goals in 55 games for Real from January to December, and leading Portugal to the World Cup Finals with a stunning hat-trick in the qualifying play-off against Sweden.
It was that hat-trick that installed him as favourite for the Ballon d’Or, despite the Portuguese’ lack of silverware in 2013.
Runner-up Messi won the 2012-13 La Liga title, while Frenchman Ribery secured an unprecedented quintuple with Champions League winners Bayern Munich.
But it was Ronaldo’s goal-scoring exploits, coupled with his incredible ability to win games almost single handedly that secured the award for the attacker, with a loving kiss from girlfriend Irina Shayk an added bonus as he made his way triumphantly up to the podium.
The former Man Utd attacker will go to the World Cup this summer along with runners up Leo Messi and Franck Ribery in what will be the very best stage for the trio to display their truly extraordinary abilities.
What do you think? Did Ronaldo deserve to win the Ballon d’Or? Let me know in the comments below…