Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has hailed his former teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who secured the second Ballon d'Or of his career on Monday.
Real Madrid superstar Ronaldo won the prestigious individual award for the first time since 2008 after amassing more votes than Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery.
Ferdinand believes Ronaldo was the worthy winner - and praised the 28-year-old's hard work and immense dedication to becoming the best footballer in the world.
"Cristiano Ronaldo - what can I say… incredible achievement, proud of you bro," Rio wrote on his official Facebook page. "Cristiano is living proof that no matter how much talent you have as a youngster, you have to work hard in order to be successful."
Ferdinand went on to describe Cristiano as the "perfect specimen" - the result of "hours of graft both in the gym and on the training ground".
However, the Manchester United centre-back also reserved special praise for Messi, who won the Ballon d'Or in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012.
"I’m still truly astonished by the drive and determination to stay at the top, by not only Ronaldo, but Messi too," Rio continued. "It’s been a joy to witness these two push each other week in week out. The question I ask however is: would they be as relentless in scoring so many goals without each other, breaking every record along the way?
"We are blessed to be in an era where both Ronaldo and Messi have lit up the game in a way that has never been seen before."
Ferdinand signed off with a "Viva Ronaldo" - and a quick note to confirm recent reports that he attempted to convince the Portugal captain to return to Old Trafford in the summer.
He added: "I tried and failed to twist his ear."
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