Ballon d'Or: Cristiano Ronaldo's improved image helped win, says Guillem Balague

Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo cries after receiving the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or award for player of the year during the FIFA Ballon d'Or
Image: Ronaldo: no longer seen as the villain

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 today.

Messi, despite being injured for the last couple of months of the year, took Barcelona to another La Liga title in 2013 and the Spanish Super Cup, scoring 45 goals in 46 appearances for club and country along the way. Ronaldo scored a staggering 69 goals in 60 games for Real Madrid and Portugal in 2013 and was certainly the main difference in the two World Cup play-off ties. Now with this monkey off his back he can concentrate on winning proper trophies like cups, Champions Leagues and leagues because, in truth, despite his undoubted greatness, his four-and-a-half year tenure at Real Madrid has seen him earn just one La Liga, one Copa del Rey and one Spanish Super Cup. Congratulations Ronaldo, you deserve it. It is a privilege to see you weekly in our league.

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