Zurich: Cristiano Ronaldo was named the world’s best footballer for the second time, on Monday, preventing his great rival Lionel Messi from winning the award for a fifth year in a row.
Argentine Messi, hampered by uncharacteristic injury problems at Barcelona late in the year, and Frenchman Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich were the other candidates for the prize, officially known as the Fifa Ballon d’Or.
“Thank you everyone, my teammates (at Real Madrid), the national team (Portugal) and my family, to everyone here. Eusebio and Mandela were very important for me... I am overwhelmed,” an emotional Ronaldo said at the awards ceremony.
Scoring at a ratio of over a goal a game, he became the quickest Real Madrid player to reach 200 goals for the club and signed a new deal at the Bernabeu in what was a sensational 2013 for the 28-year-old.
He also scored in both legs of Madrid’s Champions League tie against his former side Manchester United but could not help his compatriot Jose Mourinho capture any silverware in his final year at the club.
Ronaldo won the 2008 Ballon d’Or for his performances as a Manchester United player but since then has seen his great rival Lionel Messi walk off with the prize four years in a row while he has finished as a runner-up three times.
The first ever Ballon d’Or prix d’Honneur was awarded to Pele. “I got so many trophies and prizes but I was jealous because all of those guys who got the Ballon d’Or, which I couldn’t get because I didn’t play in Europe,” Pele said. “Now I thank God that I can complete my trophies at home.”
The Fifa/Fifpro World XI 2013 was also named and featured the Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, the defenders Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, Thiago Silva and Dani Alves, the midfielders Iniesta, Xavi and Ribery and the forwards Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ronaldo.
Jupp Heynckes, who won the Champions League and the German league and Cup with Bayern Munich last season, was named as the coach of the year over his fellow Champions League final coach, Dortmund’s Jurgen Klopp and the retired former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson.
“It means a lot to pick up an award right at the end of my career… Normally, in team sport, it is often difficult to put things together like this. It isn’t just down to me, this is down to the whole club, Bayern Munich, everybody that has been working with me during this period,” said Heynckes.
Ibrahimovic won the Puskas award for the most beautiful goal of the season for his long-distance bicycle kick while playing for Sweden against England.