A TEARFUL Cristiano Ronaldo paid tribute to his Real Madrid and Portugal team-mates upon receiving the Ballon d’Or for 2013 yesterday, ending Lionel Messi’s four-year reign as governing body Fifa’s world player of the year.
The 28-year-old gained 1,365 points in the vote cast by national captains and coaches, plus members of the global football media, while Messi was second with 1,205 points and Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery third.
Ronaldo hit 69 goals in 59 games for club and country last year and helped Portugal overcome Sweden in a play-off to reach this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
“I have to say a great thanks to all of my team-mates with the club and the national team,” said Ronaldo. “Without all their efforts this would not have been possible.
“I am very happy, it is very difficult to win this award. It is a tremendously emotional moment.”
England manager Roy Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard both selected Ronaldo as their No1, while Ronaldo voted for Monaco striker Radamel Falcao and Messi chose Barcelona team-mate Andres Iniesta.
Former Bayern Munich boss Jupp Heynckes received the coach of the year award in acknowledgment of the German giants treble, including their Champions League triumph at Wembley.
Germany goalkeeper Nadine Anderer won the women’s player of the year. The 35-year-old saved two penalties as her side beat Norway in the European Championship final.
The world team of the year contained no Premier League-based players with defender Thiago Silva and striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic the only two selected not to play for either Barcelona, Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.