Thierry Henry opened the envelope, and announced what nearly everyone expected: Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or as the most outstanding player in the world.
Overtaken by emotion, Ronaldo took a while to gather his thoughts after defeating Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer for the honors.
“I see my son, my family, my mother,” he began in Portuguese. “I would like to thank all those who voted for me, my coach, my fellow players, the president of Real Madrid. It’s been an unforgettable year. To win this trophy, a trophy of this kind, is something unique and all I can say is I want to continue working as I have, so far, trying to go onto more titles for my mother, for my father who is up there looking down at me, for my son.
“I want to try to improve, to become better as each day goes by. I never thought that I would bring this trophy back home on three occasions. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time.”
He then howled at the end, which was nice, before his son snuck onto the stage to stand near his dad. Ronaldo handed the trophy to his son, who was a bit of a show stealer.
I believe the man said, “Zoog.”
Wolfsburg midfielder Nadine Kessler has been named the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, joining her head coach Ralf Kellermann as big winners at the Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich.
Kessler, like her coach, talked about how the death of Wolfsburg men’s player Junior Malanda is overshadowing her award. The 2014 UEFA Champions League winner beat out Abby Wambach of the USWNT and five-time winner Marta for the honors.