Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the winner of the 2013 Ballon d’Or as the world’s best soccer player.
The Real Madrid winger ousted Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who won the last four awards, and Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery to win the award. It was Ronaldo’s second time winning the prestigious award, previously made the recipient in 2008 following his 31-goal season in the Premier League with Manchester United.
Ronaldo, who placed second in Ballon d’Or voting in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012, won this year’s award after scoring a sensational 55 goals for Real Madrid. During that stint he nabbed five hat-tricks in club play – against Getafe, Galatasaray and Real Sociedad – and two on the international stage for Portugal – against Northern Ireland and against Sweden in the second leg of Portugal’s World Cup playoff, ensuring his country’s place in Brazil.
Ronaldo received 1,365 points, Messi had 1,205 and Franck Ribery, the France and Bayern Munich winger, got 1,127. Voting was done by national team captains and coaches, plus selected journalists in each FIFA member country.
Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was named FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year — beating out Abby Wambach and Marta — and Pele received the first-ever honorary Ballon d’Or.
On stage Monday in Zurich, Ronaldo broke down into tears after finally breaking through for another recognition after two consecutive second-place finishes.
“There are no words to describe this moment,” Ronaldo told the Associated Press.
“People who know me know how many people helped me,” Ronaldo said in Portuguese. “If I have forgotten anyone, I do apologize because I am deeply moved.”
FIFA also stressed that Ronaldo’s win owed nothing to an extension of the initial balloting deadline beyond the World Cup playoff. His display in Stockholm was so impressive it seemed certain to sway voters when Messi was sidelined by his third injury of the year.
Still, FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said Monday the standings were unchanged by the voting rules adjustment.
Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes was named manager of the year, while German women’s national team coach Silvia Neid won the women’s coaching award.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.