Ronaldo scoops third Ballon d’Or and targets Messi

Ross McLean
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Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo was voted world footballer of the year for the third time at last night’s ceremony in Zurich and is now just one Ballon d’Or behind Lionel Messi
MESMERIC Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo set his sights on further world domination after last night being crowned Ballon D’Or champion for the second year in succession in Zurich.

Portugal skipper Ronaldo received 37.66 per cent of all votes cast by international coaches, captains and media after scoring 56 goals in 51 club games during 2014, including a competition-record 17 as Real lifted the Champions League, while Barcelona forward Lionel Messi pipped Bayern Munich keeper Manuel Neuer into second place.

“I want to improve, to become better as each day goes by,” said Ronaldo, 29, whose tally of thee world footballer of the year accolades leaves him one shy of Messi’s haul. “I never thought that I would bring this trophy back home on three occasions. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time.”

Colombia’s James Rodriguez won the Puskas Award for goal of the year, with his majestic World Cup strike against Uruguay eclipsing Stephanie Roche’s stunning effort for Peamount against Wexford in the Irish top flight, which was voted second best.

Germany’s World Cup winner Joachim Low claimed the men’s coach of the year gong following his side’s triumph in Brazil, while Messi refueled speculation over his future.

“I don’t know where I’ll be next year,” he said. “I’ve always said I want to end my career at Barcelona but nobody knows what the future holds.”

One of the more surprising developments of the evening saw former Chelsea defender David Luiz included in Fifa’s 2014 Team of the Year, despite forming part of the Brazil backline that shipped seven goals against Germany in the World Cup semi- final.