Cristiano Ronaldo wins third Ballon D'Or
In an almost landslide victory, Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has won his second straight Ballon D'Or (and third total), proclaiming him the best player of the 2014 calender year. Barcelona star and perennial rival Lionel Messi finished in second place, while his teammate Neymar was a very distant third.
It has been a truly incredible year for the winger. Scoring at unheard of rates, just over one goal a game, the Portuguese man won no less than five trophies in 2014 with Real Madrid. Three were relatively minor; the Supercopa de Espana, the European Supercup, and the Club World Cup, but the Copa del Rey and especially 'La Decima', Madrid's 10th Champions League triumph, have paved the way for Ronaldo's glory this year.
Ronaldo picked up where he left off when this season began, and he's scored 21 goals and added 11 assists for Real Madrid since August. Always dazzling the fans and the opposition with his fleeting footwork, incredible pace, and clinical finishing, there is no doubt that Ronaldo is one of the best players this world has ever seen.
Mauro Icardi was also recognized at the gala yesterday when he won the European Golden Boy award for his outstanding performances at Inter Milan.
Another footballer recognized was Argentine striker Mauro Icardi. The 21 year old won the European Golden Boy award, having scored 14 goals in 21 appearances so far this season after emerging as the Nerazzurri's first choice front-man.
Always considered a bit of a maverick, Icardi has really improved his game since his Sampdoria days and even his first season at Inter. The striker has added a level of composure and physicality that was previously lacking, and he has the goals to show for it. The Golden Boy award, previously given to the likes of Mario Gotze and Paul Pogba, is a sure sign of a young player with loads of potential.
The FIFPro Team of the Year was also released, featuring a number of shocks. Lionel Messi and his Barcelona teammates were excluded from the first team, sending shock-waves across the world. Surprisingly, Ricardo Rodriguez and Jerome Boateng made the team, while Borussia Dortmund star Henrikh Mkhitaryan got a stunning selection after scoring 15 goals in 25 games so far this season. The full team is as follows:
(Chelsea); Philippe Lahm
(Bayern), Jerome Boateng
(Bayern), Thiago Silva
(PSG), Ricardo Rodriguez
(Manchester Utd); Gareth Bale
(Real Madrid), Mesut Ozil
(Arsenal), Henrikh Mkhitaryan
(Borussia Dortmund), Angel Di Maria
(Manchester Utd), Cristiano Ronaldo
(Real Madrid); Sergio Aguero
(Bayern), Sergio Ramos
(Real Madrid), David Silva
(Manchester City), Neymar
(Barcelona), Lionel Messi
(Barcelona), Pablo Zabaleta
(Manchester City), Marco Reus
That's it for awards across the world this year. Now we roll on to 2015 as it all begins fresh to determine the best players and clubs in the world. Can Messi return to the limelight? Will Cristiano defend his title and match Messi with a 4th Ballon D'Or? Will a new legend rise? Only time will well.