Real Madrid attacker Cristiano Ronaldo has won the 2014 Fifa Ballon d’Or ahead of Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, scooping up the prestigious individual award for the third time in his career.
Ronaldo enjoyed a hugely successful 2014, in which he guided Madrid to Champions League glory by netting a record 17 goals in one campaign, and earned 37.66 per cent of the votes.
Additionally, the prolific attacker played an integral part in the Santiago Bernabeu side’s Copa del Rey win by netting three goals in six appearances, even if he missed the final against Barcelona due to injury.
On an individual level, the 29-year-old won the Liga top scorer award by scoring 31 goals in 30 appearances, which also saw him crowned joint-winner of the European Golden Shoe together with Luis Suarez.
Ronaldo becomes the seventh player in history to successfully defend his Ballon d’Or title after Johan Cruyff, Kevin Keegan, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Michel Platini, Marco van Basten and Messi.
The former Manchester United star has moved level with Cruyff, Platini and Van Basten on three wins, with only Messi ahead of him on four Ballon d’Or trophies.
“I want to thank my mother, my family. I would like to thank all those who voted for me, my coach, my fellow players, the president of the club,” Ronaldo commented while collecting the award.
“It has been an unforgettable year. To win this trophy, a trophy of this kind, is something unique, and like I say, I want to continue working as I have so far, trying to go on and win more titles both individually and as a team, for my mother, for my father who is up there looking at me, my son, and to become better.
“I would like to say to the Portuguese: I never thought I would win this trophy on three separate occasions. Of course it is something that is always with me – I want to become one of the greatest players of all time and I hope to get there. I want to thank you all,” concluded the Madrid star before leaving the stage with a loud roar.
Messi, meanwhile, made it to the podium for the seventh time in succession after he was crowned all-time top goalscorer of La Liga and the Champions League in 2014, and amassed 15.76% of the final vote while Bayern Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer got 15.72 vote.