Cristiano Ronaldo, star football player for Real Madrid and captain of the Portuguese National Team is once again the recipient of the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or for 2013 beating rivals Franck Ribéry and Lionel Messi. He first won the coveted annual football prize in 2008. This is proof of what an incredible year he had last year. Football legend Pelé made the announcement during the gala event in Zurich on January 13. After his win in 2008, he always came in second to Lionel Messi who won the trophy four years in a row from 2009 to 2012, so winning the award this time is extra sweet for him. He can’t help but give a bright and wide smile and shed a few tears as he received the trophy.
Great 2012-2013 season
Ronaldo made 56 appearances last year for Real Madrid and Portugal and kicked 66 goals, which included eight incredible hat tricks. The able finisher proved that he could also provide, with his 15 assists last year. One of his defining moments last year was his powerful performance to turn a 2-1 deficit to a stunning 3-2 win during the November playoff with Sweden, giving Portugal a berth in the World Cup finals this year.
Former football great Pelé was given an honorary Ballon d’Or trophy, which also brought tears to his eyes. He said he had been jealous of all those guys that won the golden ball when he was still an active player because he was not able to play in Europe. The smiles and the tears Pelé and Ronaldo shed underlies the fact that players of their caliber put too much pressure on themselves to be able to reach the pinnacle of success and stay there season after season.
The voting results when revealed showed that Messi and Ronaldo did not vote for each other. According to the voting system as posted in the FIFA website, the winner emerges from the votes given by coaches and international team captains, as well as journalists around the globe. Five points are awarded to the first choice. The second choice is given three points while the third choice receives one point. For this gala, Ronaldo and Messi did not vote for each other for first place. They actually did not add their name in their list. As team captains of their respective country, Portugal and Barcelona, Ronaldo and Messi were both allowed to vote once, although voting for themselves was not possible. Ribéry could not vote since he was not his country’s national team captain.
Messi’s selection included Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Neymar whereas Ronaldo named Radamel Falcao, Gareth Bale and Mesut Ozil.
Staying with Real Madrid
Ronaldo was sold in 2009 for £80 million by Manchester United to Spain. He was still with ManU when he won his first Ballon d’Or. His career flourished in Real Madrid. Although fans would love to see him back at ManU, he is staying put at Real Madrid and is considering staying at the club until the end of his career.
His current contract will expire in 2015 and he has already renewed his contract until 2018. With the current one, he will be the world’s highest paid football player according to this SoccerLens article:
“Ronaldo could earn as much as €18m a year after tax, plus 50% of his image rights, which would make him the world’s best-paid player. And certainly, after signing this new deal, he has poured cold waters on all hopes of returning to his former club, Manchester United in future.
The money quoted above is after-tax, so if we take the pre-tax value into consideration, the salary would come down to around €36m/year gross or £580,000 a week wages.”
Photo credit: Taken by Fanny Schertzer under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.