Real Madrid and Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten out Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery to win the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo has ended the four-year dominance of Lionel Messi to be awarded the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or.
The tearful 28-year-old Real Madrid and Portuguese star, who won in 2008, had been the overwhelming favourite to pip Barcelona and Argentine wonder Messi, winner the previous four years, and France’s Franck Ribery, who claimed the treble with Bayern Munich in 2013.
Ronaldo won with 27.99 per cent of votes ahead of Messi (24.72) while Ribery was third (23.36) according to France Football, co-organisers of the award with FIFA.
“There are no words to describe how I feel,” said Ronaldo in Zurich on Monday.
“I’m delighted. I want to thank all my teammates, all my family in the room.
“Those who know me know how many sacrifices I made to win this reward.”
For Messi, Ronaldo’s win didn’t change very much.
“I would have loved to have won, but as it is the motivation is the same to keep growing, improving and winning things.”
Ribery, who won the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup with Bayern last season, before adding the European Supercup and Club World Cup, had been the early frontrunner.
But a controversial two-week extension to the voting deadline for international coaches, captains and media meant they could take into consideration Ronaldo’s remarkable hat-trick to beat Sweden in the World Cup playoffs in November.
UEFA President and French football icon Michel Platini found it strange that Ribery should miss out in a year that he helped Bayern carry all before them.
Platini, who won the Ballon d’Or three times, said the nature of the award had changed since it fell under FIFA’s aegis in 2010.
“I am very disappointed for Franck Ribery. Next year, we will return and it will be Messi-Ronaldo. In two years’ time, the same; and three years’ time, ditto.
“I am disappointed because, for 50 years, the Ballon d’Or took into account results and trophies on the pitch.”
However, with 66 goals in 56 matches this year – more than Messi and Ribery’s combined 65 – no one could deny Ronaldo was a worthy winner.
It comes in a season when he won nothing with club or country, an unusual situation for a Ballon d’Or winner.
Bayern’s Jupp Heynckes, who retired following their historic treble in May, won the coach’s award.
German and Brisbane Roar W-League goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was named women’s Ballon d’Or winner while Germany’s Silvia Neid won the women’s coach award.
A special honorary Ballon d’Or was given to Brazilian legend Pele, who could not qualify for the award during his career as he never played in European club football.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic won the Ferenc Puskas best goal award for his stunning, acrobatic overhead kick from 40 metres for Sweden in a friendly against England.
Former IOC president Jacques Rogge was given the president’s prize for a “remarkable personality in sport”.
In the team of the year, Bayern’s goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, full-back and captain Philipp Lahm and Ribery were joined by Barcelona’s right-back Dani Alves, midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi and Messi, as well as Ronaldo and his Real teammate centre-back Sergio Ramos, and Paris Saint-Germain pair Ibrahimovic and centre-back Thiago Silva.