Cristiano Ronaldo’s triumph at the Ballon d’Or further enhanced his claim to be remembered as the greatest player in history.
The Real Madrid superstar, who scored his 500th club goal in Los Blancos’ Club World Cup win over Club America on Thursday, celebrated his fourth Golden Ball win, surpassing Johan Cruyff, Michel Platini and Marco van Basten and closing the gap to Lionel Messi to one.
It was all that Ronaldo deserved after winning the Champions League and European Championship.
“I never thought in my mind to win four times the Golden Ball, so I am so pleased and so happy,” Ronaldo said, via the Mirror.
“I love to play football, so I will try my best to win for Real Madrid first, because it is my team, for the national team to win again if it is possible, we know that it is very, very difficult, and to win it (Ballon d’Or) again next year.”
One man who played a key role in Ronaldo’s success was Sergio Ramos. The Spaniard scored the opening goal in the Champions League final in May as Madrid clinched their 11th European title and second in three years.
The 30-year-old didn’t receive any points in the voting for this year’s Ballon d’Or. Even Jamie Vardy received a vote from a journalist from Vanuatu.
THREE LEGENDS HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED
But Ramos isn’t fussed by his snub. What he is surprised by, however, is the fact that three Spanish legends have never won the Ballon d’Or before.
“I think it’s mad players like [Andres] Iniesta, Raul or Xavi haven’t won Ballon d’Or,” via journalist Sid Lowe.
INIESTA AND XAVI ARE WORLD CUP WINNERS
The aforementioned trio are among the biggest names never to win the Golden Ball. Iniesta and Xavi finished second and third respectively behind Messi in 2010, despite both winning the World Cup – Iniesta scored the winning goal in a 1-0 win against the Netherlands.
Meanwhile, Raul was Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer before a man named Ronaldo came along.
LACK OF SUPPORT FOR SPANIARDS
Ronaldo and Messi have taken some of the intrigue surrounding the Ballon d’Or away, sharing the coveted accolade for every year since 2008.
And Ramos is clearly frustrated at the lack of support for Spanish players. The three shortlisted Spain internationals at this year’s award – Ramos, Iniesta and Atletico Madrid’s Koke – all failed to pick up a single vote.
Ramos stopped short of being overly critical of the award because his manager, Zinedine Zidane, is a former winner.
“I do not know the criteria they follow to vote for the Ballon d’Or,” he added, via FourFourTwo. “But I say that with all due respect, because we have someone here at Madrid who won it once.”