Cristiano Ronaldo has been crowned as the World player of the year by ‘World Soccer’ magazine, after journalists from around the world cast their votes for the Portuguese international ahead of Leo Messi of FC Barcelona and Franck Ribery of Bayern Munich.
Ronaldo, who also won the award in 2008 – the same year he won his first and only Ballon d’Or – scored a total of 1,075 points, whilst Messi scored 926 and Ribery, 870. The three are also finalists for the FIFA Ballon d’Or which is to be announced next month.
The award is a recognition of Ronaldo’s stunning form for Real Madrid over the last 12 months, as well as his starring role in Portugal’s World Cup qualification. In November, he scored all four goals in his country’s play-off victory. Paris Saint-Germain’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose Sweden side were defeated by Portugal in those games, finished fourth in the poll.
Arjen Robben, scorer of the winning goal in Bayern Munich’s Champions League Final victory over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley last May, was fifth and Neymar, the star of Brazil’s success in last summer’s Confederations Cup, finished sixth
The ‘top 10’ players included Zlatan Ibrahimovic , Arjen Robben, Neymar, Philipp Lahm, Robin Van Persie, Gareth Bale and Robert Lewandowski. Andres Iniesta, in twelfth place, was the highest ranking Spanish player.
World Soccer’s Award: Guarantee of Ballon d’OR?
The World Soccer Award for the best player in the world is the best possible omen Cristiano Ronaldo could receive ahead of the FIFA Ballon d’Or, as both awards have been won by the same player 14 times in the last 16 years.
This significant coincidence started for the first time in 1997, when Ronaldo won the World Soccer Award and the Ballon d’Or, a feat that was repeated by Zidane (1998), Rivaldo (1999), Luis Figo (2000), Owen (2001), Ronaldo (2002), Nedved (2003), Ronaldinho (2005), Cannavaro (2006), Kaká (2007), Cristiano Ronaldo (2008) and Messi (2009, 2011 and 2012).
The only exceptions when this did not happen were in 2004 and 2010. Ronaldinho won the World Soccer award in 2004 but Ukraine and (then) AC Milan star Andrey Schevchenkov won the Ballon d’OR. In 2010, the World soccer Award went to Xavi Hernández for his outstanding performances in the World Cup, but Messi won the Ballon d’Or.
“What Cristiano is doing is insane”, says Thierry Henry
Former Arsenal star is the latest to put his vote of confidence behind the Portuguese star. “Ribéry is a great player, a different kind of player. He prefers to create goals than score them. He’s the kind of player you want to play alongside. Obviously, I’d like him to win.”
Cristiano’s stats speak for themselves: “There’s always debate surrounding Ronaldo, his attitude and all that. However, there comes a time when you have to stop talking about his attitude, look at his stats and at what he’s doing. Stop talking and simply watch him play. What he’s doing is insane. Louis Saha told me years ago that Ronaldo would be the best player in the world for a long time. I told him, well, let’s wait and see. He responded, you know how hard he works, he’s incredible.”