Real Madrid CF and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo has retained the FIFA Ballon d’Or, beating Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to the world crown.
Ronaldo picks up the award for the third time, joining an elite group of only five players to have won it more than twice. It comes after another incredible 12 months for the 29-year-old. He plundered 62 goals in as many games for club and country,breaking multiple records including becoming the first player to score in two UEFA Champions League final wins – one of four trophies for the No7 in 2014.
“It has been an unforgettable year,” said Ronaldo after collecting the accolade from Thierry Henry. “To win a trophy of this kind is unique. I want to continue as I have and go on for more titles for the team and myself, to improve and get better with every day. I’d never have thought I’d pick up this trophy on three occasions. I want to be one of the greatest players of all time.”
Germany’s FIFA World Cup-winning boss Joachim Löw was named FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football 2014, seeing off competition from Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone. “It is a huge honour to receive this award, the icing on the cake that was the World Cup,” said the 54-year-old.
“Those who know me know I don’t accept this as my own, though; I accept it on behalf of many others. The World Cup was the consequence of many years of hard work. I thank all German coaches who work with young players – I am nothing without good players. I thank the DFB [German Football Association] for creating the structures that brought this success, and the Bundesliga.”
The FIFA Puskás Award for goal of the year went to Real Madrid’s James Rodríguez for his remarkable volley for Colombia against Uruguay at the World Cup.
The FIFA/FIFPro World XI:
Manuel Neuer (FC Bayern München); Philipp Lahm (FC Bayern München), David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF); Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid CF), Ángel Di María (Manchester United FC); Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid CF), Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona), Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München).
Nadine Kessler took the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year prize, with VfL Wolfsburg’s Ralf Kellermann honoured as top women’s coach.