Live from Zurich
Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the best player in the world once more after claiming the Ballon d'Or for the third time at the Kongresshaus in Zurich this evening.
The Portuguese superstar won the award for a second consecutive year, beating off rivals Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich. The victory puts him just one behind Messi, who won the award for four consecutive years between 2009 and 2012.
Ronaldo bagged 37.66% of the overall vote, while Messi claimed 15.76% and Neuer was close behind with 15.72%
"I would like to thank all those who voted for me, my coach, my team-mates, the president of Real Madrid, it's been an unforgettable year", he said.
Ronaldo enjoyed a glorious 2014 and confirmed his status as the most dominant player in world football. For Real Madrid the 29-year-old scored 55 goals in 51 games, including a record-breaking 17 in the Champions League which helped Los Blancos claim La Decima - a record tenth European crown.
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The former Manchester United man put the icing on the cake in a 4-1 win in the final against Atletico Madrid with a goal from the penalty spot to spark wild celebrations as Real Madrid secured their historic victory.
The flying forward also helped his side to the Copa del Rey for a 19th time, while he also scooped the La Liga player, forward and goal of the year prizes for 2013/14, before rounding off an incredible 12 months by helping Carlo Ancelotti's side to the Club World Cup in Morocco.
Last time round when collecting the award Ronaldo was moved to tears, but he was a considerably more composed this time round as he was joined on-stage by his son.
"To win a trophy of this kind is something unique, and all I can say is that I want to continue working as I have so far, try to go on to more titles, individual awards and for my team," he continued. "I want to try and improve and get better as each day goes by.
"I would like to say to all the Portuguese that I would never have thought that I would have earned this trophy on three different occasions," he finished, before letting out a yell of delight.
For Messi it was another year of watching his great rival collecting the top individual prize in football. The Argentinian had something of a troubled year on and off the pitch, although even that couldn't stop his shattering records left, right and centre.
In 2014 he became the all-time leading scorer in La Liga and in the Champions League - although both occurred after the voting for the award closed in November, while he also surpassed the 50-goal mark for a fourth-straight year.
It was a trophy-less season for the 27-year-old, although it was a case of so near yet so far as he helped Argentina to the final of the World Cup in Brazil, only to see his country fall at the final hurdle against Germany.
A philosophical Messi said during the ceremony in Zurich: "It's a mater of trying to get better every year. Of course I need the help of my team-mates at Barcelona and with Argentina, I just hope I can carry on in this way next year."
Manuel Neuer came close to being the first goalkeeper since Lev Yashin in 1963 to scoop the prestigious prize, but he can hold his head up high after a glorious 2014 in which he became a world champion with Germany, and Bundesliga champion with Bayern Munich.
The 28-year-old also helped his side win the German Cup, and is well on course to add to his trophy cabinet this season with Bayern still in contention for a historic treble under Pep Guardiola.
He said: "It is great feeling to stand here with the best players in the world. We've had so many great goalkeepers over the years and not many have been bestowed with the honour of standing here."
Earlier on at the Ballon d'Or gala Joachim Low was named as the World Coach of the Year, while James Rodriguez scooped the Puskas prize for the best goal of the year thanks to his stunning volley at the World Cup against Uruguay. Nadine Kessler won the women's equivalent of the Ballon d'Or.
You can re-watch the whole FIFA Ballon d'Or 2014 show on FIFA's official YouTube channel! Watch it HERE
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