Simply the best
To the winner go the spoils. Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the Ballon d'Or winner for 2013 at a glittering ceremony in Zurich and it is difficult to argue with the selection. Here, we look at why the Real Madrid and Portugal superstar was named as the best footballer in the world...
Last Updated: 13/01/14 9:10pm
Outrageous stuff. Ronaldo scored a phenomenal 69 goals in 59 games in 2013. For his club, Real Madrid, he hit hat-tricks against Getafe, Galatasaray and Real Sociedad. He even reserved two of the beauties for Sevilla. And that is just his record in club football. This was also the year in which Ronaldo scored two hat-tricks for his country, Portugal, the second of which against Sweden in the second leg of the World Cup play-offs ensured his country's place in Brazil this summer.
It is the empty space at the heart of a remarkable season of personal achievement. Real Madrid failed to win a single trophy in 2013. Second in La Liga to Barcelona, runners-up in the Copa del Rey to Atletico Madrid and beaten in the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League by Borussia Dortmund, Ronaldo had to content himself with the title of top scorer in Europe's premier club competition - regaining the crown he had lost to Messi in 2008/09.
There are plenty of titles, trophies and cups out there for team achievement. That is the nature of football. But the Ballon d'Or is here to honour individual brilliance. It is difficult to argue that anyone, even his rivals Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery, exceeded the efforts of Ronaldo in that regard. Week after week he has produced mind-blowing match-winning performances allied to the sort of goalscoring greatness usually reserved for comic books and computer games. A heroic effort that deserves acclaim.
"I have to say thank you to all of my team-mates for my club, Real Madrid, and the national team. Without their efforts it would not have been possible. I am very happy. I have to thank everyone who have been involved with me. It is a tremendously emotional moment."
"Seemingly the perennial bridesmaid to the blushing bride that is Leo Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo finally got the love and approbation from the world's footballing cognoscenti winning the 2013 Ballon d'Or in Zurich.
Runner-up to the little Argentinian for three out of the last four years, Ronaldo's greatness as a superstar player has never been in question.
But in these days of high profile image requirements that go beyond just the game, CR7 always seemed to find himself unfairly cast as the villain to the hero that has been the squeaky clean Messi.
Now the balance of the public's perceptions looks to be changing. It feels like the world has gone a bit tired of the same face at the top of the chain."