Baku-APA. Cristiano Ronaldo was named the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or winner for a second straight year and a third time overall on Monday, as the world's best soccer player of the last year. Ronaldo, a 29-year-old Portuguese forward playing for Real Madrid, beat out Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, APA reports quoting news.yahoo.com.
Ronaldo won the 2013-14 UEFA Champions League with Real, the club's record 10th European title after a 12-year continental drought. Messi, for his part, was the named the best player at the 2014 World Cup, where he and his Argentinian teammates lost the final to Neuer's Germany.
Ronaldo had previously won both the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2008, before Messi, who is two years his junior, did the same in 2009. Then, when the awards were combined in 2010, Messi won it another three times consecutively.
But lately Ronaldo has had the upper hand in this rivalry – the likes of which have perhaps never been seen before – as his consistency and that of his club have curbed Messi and Barca's hegemony. During Real's triumphant European season, the forward scored 17 times, a new record for the competition, while outscoring Messi in La Liga as well.
While Ronaldo took the award, most of the talk once again revolved around Messi and the growing speculation that he might leave Barcelona at the end of the season. The Blaugranas are the only club he has played for at the senior level, after leaving Newell's Old Boys in Argentina at 13.
"I'm not sure what's going to happen, if one day I'll go back to Newell's," Messi said in a press conference before the award ceremony. "I'm not sure where I'll be next year. I've always said I'd like to finish my career at Barcelona. But nobody knows what the future holds and much less so in the football world where so many things can change overnight."