This is the third time the 29-year old Portuguese striker has been crowned as the world’s best player for the previous calendar year. Ronaldo was already recognized for his amazing skills and goal-scoring ability in 2008 and 2013.
Since 2008, the FIFA Ballon d’Or has been a personal battle between Ronaldo and his arch-rival Lionel Messi. Although the Argentinian superstar has fallen a little short this time, Messi won the title four times in a row (2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012), leaving Ronaldo in the dust three times (2009, 2011 and 2012), when the Portuguese came in second.
This year award was held in Zurich. Besides familiar faces of Ronaldo and Messi, Manuel Neuer was in contention this year. The goalkeeper of Bayern Munich and German National team had all the rights to claim the trophy. After all, Neuer helped his club to win the title in the German Bundesliga, conceding only 23 goals in the process, and most notably, played a vital role in the Bundesmannschaft’s victory at the FIFA World Cup last summer, the Guardian reports.
Neuer’s last year achievements are hard to ignore. However, being the goalkeeper, a man who occupies a somewhat peripheral position on the pitch, 'sweeper-keeper' Neuer faded when compared with flashy skills, quick feet, and goal-scoring abilities of both Ronaldo and Messi. After all, in 58 years the trophy has been contested, only once a goalkeeper had won it – the great Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin received the world’s best football player award in 1963, according to the Guardian.
Personally I think Neuer should win the Ballon D'Or. But what do I know. pic.twitter.com/feHV74sEmV— Hasan Zaidi (@hyzaidi) 12 января 2015
When we look at pure numbers, however, Ronaldo’s last year performance was nothing short of outstanding, 2014 being the best year of his career. The Portuguese scored a total of 61 goals, outgunning Messi by three goals. This might not mean much, but when one considers personal trophies won by Ronaldo, his superiority over Messi in 2014 was many-sided. Ronaldo won the Spanish La Liga, the UEFA Champions League, the Spanish domestic cup Copa del Rey, the Club World Cup and the UEFA Super Cup, outshining Messi everywhere, the Bleacher Report says.