It was Cristiano Ronaldo’s night. His four year waiting period to finally push big rival, Lionel Messi, from the FIFA Ballon d’Or throne had arrived, and he showed the whole world how much the prestigious award meant to him.
The Portuguese striker follows in the footsteps of Di Stefano (1957 and 1959), Kopa (1958), Figo (2000), Ronaldo de Lima (2002) and Fabio Cannavaro (2006) to become the sixth Real Madrid player to win the Ballon d’Or.
The original Ballon d'Or (not FIFA Ballon d'Or) was awarded by France Football, and in 2010 merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year to today's FIFA Ballon d'Or. French Real Madrid legend, Zinedine Zinedane, who won his third FIFA World Player of the Year in 2003 whilst playing for the Los Blancos, won his only Ballon d'Or in 1998 as a Juventus player. The 2003 Ballon d'Or was awarded to Pavel Nedved.
Moments after receiving the award an emotional Ronaldo expressed his happiness for being named the best player in the world in 2013: “It’s an honour to win this award.
“It was an indescribable moment. I can’t explain it in words.I’ve had unforgettable experiences and a lot of emotions.
“I want to thank Real Madrid, my teammates in the club and the national team, because you can’t win individual awards without working as a team.
“And the same goes to my coaches for club and country, for the trust they had in me.”
Later on, when Ronaldo’s achievement had sunked in, the 28-year-old said about his emotional moment:
“These tears are genuine. Those who know me the struggle I’ve had all year to be at a top level and with the best.
“You need to work really hard to win a trophy of this magnitude.
“Now I want to keep working and this award will motivate me even more.”
Before departing from the gala ceremony, Ronaldo made it very clear that he plans to continue his goal-scoring form in 2014: “I’m going to try to give my best, like I always do, and I hope to be back next year to win the third Ballon d’Or of my career."
Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, also expressed his satisfaction with the awarding of the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or to Cristiano Ronaldo, whom he brought to Real Madrid for €94m.
“Justice has been done because he’s the best player in the world.
“I don’t want to exaggerate, but this is not just about the Ballon d’Or but also about recognition for a leader in football who always want to achieve more and who represents the values that we at Real Madrid fans always defend and that is very exciting.”
Perez also acknowledged the level of the other two nominees, Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.
“It means more to him (Ronaldo) because his rivals are very good.”
Did Ronaldo deserve to win the award and can he defend it in 2014? Have your say in the comment section below.