YOU WOULDN’T BET AGAINT RONALDO EQUALLING MESSI’S FOUR BALLON D’OR WINS NEXT YEAR.
Cristiano Ronaldo won his third Ballon d’Or this evening, beating both Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to the prestigious award. The Portuguese captain had a superb year in 2014 scoring an incredible 52 goals in just 43 games, including one in the famous 4-1 Champions League victory over Atletico Madrid which awarded Real Madrid their 10th European cup which they have so longed for.
Ronaldo won with 37.66% of the votes and Messi narrowly beat Neuer into second place with 15.76% of the vote to the Germans 15.72%. 20,000 pros voted in the ceremony which took play in Zurich and Ronaldo was visibly emotional at winning his second consecutive Ballon d’Or as he collected the trophy from recently retired Thierry Henry.
Coach of the year went to Germany’s World cup winning manager Joachim Low. The eccentric German fought off stiff competition from both sides of Madrid in the form of Diego Simeone and Carlo Ancelotti. Low was a deserved winner of the award as his German side finally came of age by beating Argentina 1-0 in the World Cup final to achieve the German’s fourth world crown.
Low guided his side to their first title as a unified Germany, their fourth in total.
The Puskas goal of the year award went to World cup golden boot winner James Rodriguez for his terrific volley against Urugauy in the World Cup knock-out stages. This was a particularly competitive category as the Colombian triumphed over Stephanie Roche who scored a stupendous strike for Peaumont against Wexford in the Irish female league and Robin Van Persie’s fantastic diving header against Spain at the World Cup. Stephanie Roche had hoped to become the first female winner of the award but Rodriguez’s goal had 42% of the vote.
Team of the year always causes controversy and this year was no different. The team is as follows. Neuer, Lahm, David Luiz, Ramos, Thiago Silva, Iniesta, Kroos, Di Maria, Robben, Messi, Ronaldo. The main talking points here is how David Luiz somehow managed to get into the best team of the year despite being part of the Brazil side that conceded seven to the Germans in that infamous World Cup semi-final. Andres Iniesta’s inclusion is also puzzling as despite him being a fantastic talent 2014 wasn’t one of his best years. The overall omission of Luis Suarez from the 23 man short-list is also one of the strangest decisions that FIFA have ever made, although they are the same people that awarded the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
In the end though Ronaldo was the star of the night as he chases down Messi’s record four Ballon d’Or wins. Will he triumph next year or will the Argentinian genius get back on top? Perhaps we will see a new superstar buck the trend of Messi and Ronaldo victories that have lasted now since 2008. Whatever happens 2015 is sure to be another exciting, drama filled year of football and who will be lifting the Ballon d’Or trophy in 2016 is anyone’s guess.