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Ronaldo beats Messi to Ballon d’Or triumph


Zurich: Portugal and Real Madrid great Cristiano Ronaldo lifted his third FIFA world footballer of the year award in an overwhelming win over eternal rival Lionel Messi, Barcelona’s Argentine magician.

The 29-year-old forward — who played a key role in Real Madrid’s charge to a 10th Champions League trophy — beat four-time winner Messi to the Ballon d’Or for the second year in a row yesterday. Germany’s World Cup winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer came third in the vote.

Ronaldo was the star of a glittering FIFA awards ceremony in Zurich at which Real Madrid teammate James Rodriguez won the goal of the year award and Germany’s Joachim Loew was declared coach of the year.

“I never thought I would win this trophy on three occasions,” Ronaldo said in his victory speech, signalling there would be no let-up in his quest for football glory.

“I want to be one of the greatest players of all time and of course this requires a lot of effort,” added the striker, who won the award for the first time while at Manchester United in 2008.

Ronaldo, whose son and mother were present, burst into tears when he went up to collect the award before praising his team-mates and paying homage to his family.

“I would like to thank my mother, to my father, who is in heaven and who is looking down on me, to my family,” said Ronaldo.

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