Cristiano Ronaldo pips Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to win the Fifa Ballon d'Or 2013.
An emotional Cristiano Ronaldo had to fight back the tears after ending four years of Lionel Messi domination to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or and the right to be called the best player on the planet once again.
In the end, Cristiano Ronaldo showed it did matter to him. Five years after his last win, Ronaldo has been officially recognized as the best footballer on the planet, at least until January 2015.
Tears flooded his eyes and cheeks as he received a prize that, specifically in 2013, seemed to have acquired a particular importance. Eclipsed by Lionel Messi’s spectacular exploits in the last four years, even though his own numbers were hardly dismissible, Ronaldo last year maintained a stunning regularity that injury finally denied to his great rival. The problem is that not everybody agreed.
The statistics speak for themselves: 69 goals in 59 games for club and country; a one-man show that hauled Portugal from the brink of World Cup elimination in Stockholm to qualification for Brazil in June; the surpassing of Hugo Sanchez's scoring record for Real and the equaling of Pauleta's 47 for Portugal; five hat tricks, including the decisive treble against Sweden; and this season, the shattering of the record for most goals scored in a Champions League group stage and a total of 14 for the calendar year, eclipsing Messi's own mark. That Ronaldo deserved the Ballon d'Or on a sporting level is irrefutable. But the 28-year-old has won a more important victory overall: recognition off the field, as well.
In accepting the award, a teary and humble Ronaldo was quick to highlight the support of his team-mates.
He said: "I have no words to describe this moment. Thanks to all of my team-mates, at Real Madrid and the national team.
"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 partner, my friends, my son. It is a tremendously emotional moment. All I can say is thank you to everybody that has been involved."
In the mixed zone afterwards, the Portugal captain was quoted as saying by AS: "I don't know if it's fair or not. Ribery could have won it as much as me.
"I've had a very good season at an individual level. I want to be here again next year and win it again.
"My mum (who was in attendance) cries very easily and when I saw her crying it made me cry as well. I'm an emotional person."
List of FIFA Award winners:
2013 Ballon d'Or: 1 Cristiano Ronaldo; 2 Lionel Messi; 3 Franck Ribery.
Women's world player of the year: 1 Nadine Angerer; 2 Abby Wambach; 3 Marta.
World coach of the year (men's football): 1 Jupp Heynckes; 2 Jurgen Klopp; 3 Sir Alex Ferguson.
World coach of the year (women's football): 1 Silvia Neid; 2 Ralf Kellermann; 3 Pia Sundhage.
Puskas Award: 1 Zlatan Ibrahimovic; 2 Nemanja Matic; 3 Neymar.
FIFPro World XI: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich and Germany); Dani Alves (Barcelona and Brazil), Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich and Germany), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid and Spain), Thiago Silva (Paris St Germain and Brazil); Andres Iniesta (Barcelona and Spain), Franck Ribery (Bayern Munich and France), Xavi (Barcelona and Spain), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid and Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Paris St Germain and Sweden), Lionel Messi (Barcelona and Argentina).
Ballon d'Or Prix d'Honneur: Pele.
Fair Play Award: Afghanistan Football Federation.
Presidential Award: Jacques Rogge.
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