138 lucky spectators witnessed the back-to-back crowning of Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo at the ceremony hosted in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Ronaldo is not just popular, he is the undisputed standard in modern football. When he wins awards, he does so by a landslide!
While the Best FIFA Men’s Player process includes votes from coaches, national team captains, and football fans, the France Football Ballon d’Or is strictly reserved for reputable journalists to elect the most deserving football player. For the 2017 edition of the prize, each of the 176 journalists – one per country – had to cast their Top 5 list.
Voting for the prestigious prize ended on November 15. With Lionel Messi’s superior start to La Liga this season, anxiety had a reason to settle in among Cristiano Ronaldo fans. What if CR7 conceded the prize at the last moment? How likely was an upset? and how close would the results be?
However, it appears the Portuguese talisman actually bagged the 2017 Ballon d’Or months ago, by shining for both club and country when it mattered most. His massive individual performances and collective achievements in the UEFA Champions League throughout the calendar year were second to none. With a record 19 calendar year goals in the UCL, European and domestic silverware at Real Madrid, and 15 crucial goals for Portugal en route to automatic World Cup 2018 qualification, none of the 29 Ballon d’Or nominees had a chance.
A couple of minutes before the official announcement, show host David Ginola pushed the legendary Ronaldo Nazario to respond to the biggest question: “Who deserves the award?”
“Of course, the three of them are incredible players,” the former Barcelona and Galactico superstar striker declared.
“But it’s too easy. I’m a Real Madrid fan. And you’ve seen what he [Cristiano] has done for Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo is the best.”
On Thursday night in Paris, Cristiano Ronaldo was majestically unveiled as the winner, standing tall on the Eiffel Tower with his golden prize in his right hand and his left hand’s five fingers widely stretched.
Kaka, Roberto Carlos, Fabio Cannavaro, and Michael Owen were also among the prestigious football personalities at the ceremony.
“Ronaldo has changed a lot. He’s not only a good player individually; he’s also a very good leader,” said 2006 FIFA World Cup-winning captain Cannavaro.
Roberto Carlos joked: “During my playing days, I was the best player. But now, it’s Ronaldo!”
2009 FIFA Confederations Cup champion Kaka — also known as the last human being to lift the golden trophy before aliens Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi monopolized it, added:
“It’s been 10 years now since I won the Ballon d’Or. And every time Messi or Ronaldo wins it, my name pops up and it’s good to know people remember me as such.
“Congratulations to Ronaldo. I wish him the best, and to win trophies for both club and country.”
To this statement from fellow countryman Kaka, Brazil’s Ronaldo added: “I think the name ‘Ronaldo’ is a lucky name!”
Real Madrid FC president, Florentino Perez, made a deep statement as he noted: “For me, he [Cristiano] is the best player since Alfredo di Stefano.”
— France Football (@francefootball) December 7, 2017
Cristiano Ronaldo’s words at the 2017 Ballon d’Or ceremony
“Very happy,” were his first words as Ginola accompanied the ex-Premier League winger from the Eiffel Tower to the stage.
“Receiving this trophy in Paris. I didn’t expect this. It’s frankly a marvelous experience.
“It’s something I wish to receive every year, every season. Last season, we had an excellent year in La Liga and in Europe. Individually, I scored the most goals in the UEFA Champions League. So obviously, I merit this trophy.
“I’d like to thank my Real Madrid teammates and my Portugal teammates because they helped me win this.”
Another dream come true. Unbelievable feeling. Thanks to my family, friends, teammates, coaches and everyone that stood by my side throughout the years.??? pic.twitter.com/A9jyYswePD
— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 7, 2017
Father figure Sir Alex Ferguson was among the coaches who showered praises on their product via a video message.
“Cristiano, I want to congratulate you once again for winning,” the 75-year-old stated before reminding his former favorite starlet to remain evergreen:
“You’re still a young man. Hold on.”
Carlo Ancelotti, whose guidance helped Los Blancos clinch La Decima in 2014, declared:
“Cristiano Ronaldo, I’m proud of you. I’m glad to witness your victory of your fifth Ballon d’Or award. You’ve always been a great example to others.
“I hope and I know that you’ll continue to excel and that you’ll be lifting another Ballon d’Or by this time, next year.”
In response to the overwhelming praises he received from his mentors, Ronaldo acknowledge:
“We always learn something from greats. Ancelotti and all the other managers I’ve had have taught me incredible things. I thank all the coaches, my family, my friends, the president [of Real Madrid] for being here.”
To the applause of the public, Ronaldo shared a bit of his wisdom:
“You can have talent and good work ethics. But for me, the coach remains the leader. You can be a professional but if you don’t have a leader, you can fail.”
Recognizing younger talents like Neymar and Kylian Mbappe who have been tipped to, one day, break the Leo-CR7 duopoly, the wise Portugal captain made it clear:
“The next Ronaldo doesn’t exist. Everyone has their own style. There’s not another Kaka, Roberto Carlos, or Ronaldo [Nazario]. Everybody has their style. I always want to get more goals and more trophies but nothing is guaranteed.”
París a sus pies. pic.twitter.com/y2g2CfKSv2
— Gómez (@RealGomezRM) December 7, 2017
Ronaldo’s attacking partner, Karim Benzema, came in 25th position while midfielder Isco was placed 12th. His other Real Madrid teammates, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric, earned a more respectable rank as they finished in the Top 10 in sixth and fifth position respectively.
The Ballon d’Or 2017 top three
1 – Cristiano Ronaldo (946 points)
2 – Lionel Messi (670 points)
3 – Neymar Junior (361 points)
Who else made the 2017 Ballon d’Or Top 10?
4 – Gianluigi Buffon (221 points)
5 – Luka Modric (84 points)
6 – Sergio Ramos (71 points)
7 – Kylian Mbappe (48 points)
8 – N’golo Kante (47 points)
9 – Robert Lewandowski (45 points)
10 – Harry Kane (36 points)