Ronaldo awarded third Ballon d’Or
Ronaldo won the FIFA Ballon d’Or in a rout on Monday, racking up more than twice the votes of Lionel Messi, who edged German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer into third.
The Real Madrid and Portugal forward’s latest hat trick tied him with Zinedine Zidane and Ronaldo of Brazil on three FIFA awards. The original Ballon d’Or presented by France Football magazine was won by European standouts Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten three times each.
Only Messi’s four FIFA awards is ahead of the 29-year-old Ronaldo, whose Madrid team again seems better placed for trophies in 2015 than his rival’s Barcelona.
“I want to become one of the greatest players of all time,’’ Ronaldo said through a translator in his acceptance speech. “Of course, this requires a lot of effort and I hope to get there.’’
Ronaldo retained football’s highest individual honor after scoring 61 goals last year. His record tally of 17 in a Champions League season helped Madrid win an unprecedented 10th European Cup title - and overshadowed a relatively disappointing World Cup campaign.
He has kept up the pace since FIFA’s voting college - national team captains and coaches, plus selected journalists, in more than 180 countries took part - cast ballots in November.
Ronaldo helped Madrid take the Club World Cup title last month to cap a Spanish-record 22-match winning streak.
“It’s a fantastic moment in my career,’’ Ronaldo said after the FIFA ceremony. “I want to carry on with more titles in my career, collective and individual.’’
He won his first FIFA award in 2008 as a Manchester United player.