Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has tonight been announced as the winner of the Ballon d’Or award for 2013.
The 28-year-old Portuguese star held off Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery to scoop the gong capping a wonderful 2013.
Ronaldo, who last won the award in 2008, scored 66 times during the last calendar year in only 55 games, proving wrong any doubts that he can’t do the business on a consistent basis and keep up with the world’s elite.
Ronaldo started the year by captaining ten-man Madrid to a 4-3 win over Real Sociedad in a game where he also scored a brace. Days after coming second to Lionel Messi in the Ballon d’Or, the ex-Manchester United player scored a hat-trick against Celta Vigo in the second leg of a Copa del Rey fixture.
A perfect treble on January 27 against Getafe in a 4-0 victory included his 300th club goal of his career whilst three days later against Barcelona he made his 500th club appearance.
His quality continued to shine through as after a shock defeat to 1-0 defeat to Granada where he scored an own-goal, he recovered in supreme style with his 21st hat-trick of his career against Sevilla and his 17th in La Liga.
He faced United in the Champions League during February where his two goals over the two-legged tie saw his side to victory and progress to the quarter-final. After the game he admitted to feeling “sad” on his first return to Old Trafford leaving himself with a “strange feeling”.
Goals continued to come for Ronaldo in big games as well. A brace at the Nou Camp saw Madrid progress into the final of the Copa del Rey and saw Cristiano score for the sixth consecutive time at Barcelona.
In March, he earned himself a place in history as he became one of the top 25 goal-scorers in La Liga history with his 138th goal in 127 games coming against Celta Vigo.
During April rumours started to circulate that Ronaldo was poised to make an emotional return to Manchester however Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement from management would prove to be the end of any truth in the speculation.
Ronaldo’s 200th Real Madrid goal came in May 2013 in a 6-2 win over Malaga which also put him sixth on the club’s all-time top scorers list but the fastest to do it (197 games).
He ended the 2013 season without a Champions League medal but did finish as the top-goalscorer in the competition (12 goals) for the second time in his career.
Stories of any departure from the Santiago Bernabeu were put to rest in September when he signed a new contract keeping him at Madrid until 2018 in a contract worth €21million.
His second ever Champions League hat-trick came against Galatasaray in a 6-1 away win and he also managed a double against Copenhagen a couple of weeks later to mark his 100th European appearance. He also became the third all-time highest-scorer in the competition with 57 goals.
Ronaldo himself stated that he could be in the best-form of his life during November 2013 after he had started the season with 32 goals in 22 games which included five hat-tricks. His ability to find the back of the net so frequently soon made him second on La Liga’s all-time hat-trick list.
The final match of 2013 was completed with another Ronaldo goal in a 3-2 win at Valencia which put him fourth on Madrid’s league top-scorers of all-time.
Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti described Ronaldo as a: “unique player for all of his talent and his professionalism. He is a player who is extraordinarily consistent.”
It’s the word consistency which makes this player so special. He has been able to demonstrate the ability to stay right at the top level for a long length of time and show the world his talent.
Without a doubt Ronaldo fully deserves to win this award and Madrid should feel privileged they have a living legend within their team.
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