Cristiano Ronaldo wins Ballon d’Or for second consecutive year

MADRID: Cristiano Ronaldo shut out Lionel Messi for the second straight year in the battle for the Ballon d’Or and he is showing no sign of giving up his grip as king of world football.

The 29-year-old Portuguese forward has been at the height of his powers again this year, terrorizing opposing defences in the Champions League and Spain’s La Liga.

He is also hungry for more. Asked at the Ballon d’Or ceremony what his favourite goal had been, Ronaldo was only half-jokin when he said: “For me the next goal is always the most important.”

Despite a patellar tendinosis problem in his left knee that contributed to an underwhelming World Cup, the Portugal captain was clearly a deserving winner of a third Ballon d’Or in a year in which he guided Real Madrid to their 10th Champions League title (but first in 12 years) and continued to rewrite the history books.

That night in Lisbon on May 24 illustrated better than most the two sides of Ronaldo’s character that has at times made him a divisive figure.

Battling through knee troubles and frustrated for over 90 minutes, Ronaldo and his Galactico team mates looked set for one of the most embarrassing defeats in Real’s history as they trailed poorer city rivals Atletico Madrid until Sergio Ramos’s towering header in stoppage time.

Further goals in extra time from Gareth Bale and Marcelo made the long-awaited “La Decima”, a tenth European Cup, secure in Lisbon. But it was not enough for Ronaldo who surged into the Atletico box and collapsed under the attentions of Gabi.

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