Cristiano Ronaldo Wins Second Consecutive Ballon d’Or
Cristiano Ronaldo won his second straight, and third overall, Ballon d’Or on Monday. Ronaldo ousted Argentine striker Lionel Messi and German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, for the award. The Portuguese footballer garnered 37.6 percent of the votes, while Messi narrowly claimed the runner-up distinction with 15.76 percent to Neuer’s 15.72 percent.
Last year, Ronaldo scored 61 goals between club and country. He scored a record 17 times in last year’s UEFA Champions League, en route to Real Madrid’s 10th Champions League title. In the tournament, Ronaldo scored two semifinal goals against Bayern Munich and scored the game-winning goal in extra time to defeat Atletico Madrid in the final.
He disappointed at the World Cup, scoring in just one of Portugal’s three matches. The Portuguese bowed out after the group stage, as Germany and the United States moved on to the round of 16.
The start of the club season saw a return of good form from Ronaldo as he has scored an impressive 26 goals in just 16 La Liga matches. In addition, he has scored five goals in Real’s six Champions League matches, this campaign.
Messi won the World Cup’s Golden Ball for his four goals and integral role in Argentina’s run that Germany stopped in extra time, in the final. Additionally this past year, he became the all-time leading scorer in La Liga with 259 goals and the Champions League, with 75 goals.
Bayern Munich, and Germany’s No. 1 goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was a major contributor to Germany’s World Cup title. He was lauded for his self-confidence and ability to defend the open space behind the German back-line, leaving his penalty area on many occasions to do so. Any chance of Neuer being able to legitimately contest for the award was realistically lost with Bayern’s Champions League semifinal loss to Ronaldo and Real Madrid.