Cristiano Ronaldo wins FIFA best player award
Portugal winger’s prolific scoring for Madrid. However, Ronaldo was heavily favoured this time after FIFA extended the balloting deadline beyond the World Cup playoffs in November and allowed voters to change preferences.
The Portugal star’s display in Stockholm was so impressive it seemed certain to sway voters at a time when Messi was sidelined by his third injury of the year. Still, FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said yesterday the standings were unchanged by the voting rules adjustment, which raised the turnout from around 50 to 88 per cent.
Ronaldo said earlier yesterday that he made peace with FIFA President Sepp Blatter, whose stated personal preference last October for Messi sparked speculation that the eventual winner would snub the ceremony. “We talked over the telephone and everything was cleared,” Ronaldo at a news conference before the ceremony.
“This is no longer an issue, neither for us nor for football.” Germany dominated the other major awards, with goalkeeper Nadine Angerer named women’s player of the year ahead of United States forward Abby Wambach, last year’s winner, and Marta of Brazil.
The World XI elected by players in the FIFPro group of national unions was: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich, Germany); Dani Alves (Barcelona, Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, Spain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint- Germain, Brazil), Philipp Lahm (Bayern, Germany); Andres Iniesta (Barcelona, Spain), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona, Spain), Ribery (Bayern, France); Ronaldo (Madrid, Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG, Sweden), and Messi (Barcelona, Argentina). Pele, viewed by many as the greatest footballer ever, finally received a Ballon d’Or trophy which he could never get during his career when the original prize created by France Football magazine in 1956 was restricted to European players.
The only player to win the World Cup three times — in 1958, ‘62 and ‘70 — was given a standing ovation at the Zurich Kongresshaus. “I promised my family I would not cry but I am emotional,” Pele said. “Thank God, I complete my trophies at home.”