The result everyone was expecting has come to pass as the Red Devils’ superstar winger has been named European Footballer of the Year…
The 23-year-old Portuguese star is the first from his country to win the coveted ‘Ballon D’Or’ award since Luis Figo in 2000.
He scored a remarkable 42 times in 49 matches as United secured a memorable league and European Cup double.
After months and months of debate and campaigning, the votes have finally been cast and counted and the results are in and come as no surprise. Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has been named European Footballer of the Year…
France Football has handed its prestigious Ballon d’Or award to Cristiano Ronaldo, a decision that will surprise no-one given his outstanding performances over the past 12 months.
The 23-year-old led Manchester United to the Premier League and Champions League titles last term, netting some 42 goals along the way – an incredible feat for a player who predominately plays on the right flank.
Ronaldo was a clear winner, collecting 77 votes from the 96 journalists who judge the award, while Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Liverpool’s Fernando Torres filled out the placings.
It is just the latest of many individual triumphs for the former Sporting Lisbon sensation, who was dubbed player of the year by the Football Writers’ Association and the Professional Footballers’ Association in 2006-07. He was recently named the 2008 FIFPro World Player of the Year.
Ronaldo becomes the fourth Man United star to claim the Ballon d’Or, following in the footsteps of Denis Law (1964), Sir Bobby Charlton (1966) and George Best (1968). It is perhaps fitting that the Real Madrid target’s win marks the 40th anniversary of Best’s triumph, as he has often been compared to the late, great Ulsterman.
The newly crowned European Footballer of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, has expressed his joy at picking up the coveted Golden Ball
In a brief interview with the publication that hands out the award, France Football, Ronaldo expressed his delight at joining the elite group of players to take home the gong.
“To win this award at just 23 years of age is incredible, because I only started my career a few years ago,” he told the magazine.
“But it is fantastic as there were a lot of other big names in the race this year such as [Lionel] Messi, [Fernando] Torres and even Xavi. All these players could have won it but nevertheless, I’m happy to have taken it.”
Ronaldo then went on to show is gratitude to his team-mates for playing a part in his success. He said: “I have to thank all my team-mates who helped me become the best. I was never afraid of whether or not I would win it because I was always conscious of the great year I had last season.”
“This is one of the happiest days of my life. Those who know me or who have lived with me know that this is a dream come true for me. But tomorrow morning in training, I will still be the same person as always.”
In the aftermath Messi claimed that he’s not despondent despite losing out to Ronaldo, before hinting that he’ll be better placed to win the award in future.
He said, “I was not ever worried about the Ballon d’Or, much less now.
“Fortunately things are going well me, but I always say that the most important thing is to keep doing well for the team and to win many titles.”
“I am only 21 years old and I have left many things to do in football.”
Inter coach Jose Mourinho has stunned everyone with his response when asked to give his views on Cristiano Ronaldo’s Ballon d’Or win.
Asked by Sky Italia about the Ronaldo win and whether he had any praise for the star, Mourinho said, “No, I would have preferred one of my own foreign players to have won the Ballon d’Or.”
The coaches’ words are likely to cause controversy around the world. The ‘Special One’ didn’t even recognise his fellow countryman’s achievement with praise.
Next up for Ronaldo is the FIFA World Player of the Year gong, which has never been won by an English-based player.
2008 Ballon d’Or Top Ten Classification
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Manchester United) – 446 points
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona) – 281 pts
3. Fernando Torres (Spain/Liverpool) – 179 pts
4. Iker Casillas (Spain/Real Madrid) – 133 pts
5. Xavi Hernandez (Spain/Barcelona) – 97 pts
6. Andrei Arshavin (Russia/Zenit St. Petersburg) – 64 pts
7. David Villa (Spain/Valencia) – 55 pts
8. Kaka (Brazil/AC Milan) – 31 pts
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Inter) – 30 pts
10. Steven Gerrard (England/Liverpool) – 28 pts
We want your comments about achieving the award by Ronaldo. Does he deserve it? Is there anyone else for this award? Best of Luck