Ronaldo aiming to become one of 'greatest players of all time'

Ronaldo aiming to become one of 'greatest players of all time'

Cristiano Ronaldo already has his eye on more major honours after being crowned the world’s best player for the third time.

The 29-year-old saw off rivals Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to win the prestigious FIFA Ballon d’Or at a ceremony in Zurich on Monday.

Ronaldo was rewarded for a year which saw him score 57 goals for club and country and win four trophies with Real Madrid.

But the Portugal forward stressed his ambitions remain much bigger than simply pipping his long-time nemesis Messi to the ultimate annual prize.

Ronaldo said: “I am extremely happy and proud to receive this award and I want to keep challenging myself every day.

“Of course this is something that is always with me. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time and this requires a lot of effort but I hope to get there.”

Ronaldo was a clear winner with 37.66 per cent of total votes cast by a panel made up of captains, coaches and media members from all FIFA affiliate associations. Messi took second with 15.76 per cent, just ahead of Neuer on 15.72.

Messi responded to continuing transfer rumours by stressing he would like to end his career at Barcelona – but conceded that outcome was far from certain.

Having denounced talk of a move to the Barclays Premier League as “lies” earlier this week, Messi added on Monday: “I’m not sure where I’m going to be next year.

“I’ve always said I would like to finish my career at Barcelona... nobody knows what the future holds, much less so in the case of the football world, where so many things can change overnight.”

England manager Roy Hodgson left both Ronaldo and Messi out of his own top three, voting instead for Argentina’s Javier Mascherano ahead of Germany pair Philipp Lahm and Neuer.

Ireland’s Stephanie Roche missed out on becoming the first woman to win the FIFA Puskas Award for goal of the year as she was beaten to the prize by Colombia’s James Rodriguez.

She tweeted: “Very Proud to receive 1.1million votes. Congrats to James. A fantastic experience & thanks to everyone (across the world) for your support!”

Roche, who became an internet sensation following her stunning volley for Peamount United against Wexford Youths Women last year, was on a three-strong shortlist also including Robin van Persie diving header in Holland’s World Cup win over Spain.

Over six million fans viewed Roche’s goal on YouTube, sparking hopes Roche could become the first woman to claim the coveted award at FIFA’s Ballon d’Or ceremony.

Unlike her two rivals for the award, Roche’s goal had been watched live by just 95 spectators and was filmed on a camcorder by Wexford coach John Flood.

Germany midfielder Nadine Kessler was voted women’s player of the year while Germany coach Joachim Low took the men’s world coach of the year.


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