News ID: 205782
Published: 0300 GMT December 08, 2017

Ronaldo didn't expect to match Messi's Ballon d'Or haul

Ronaldo didn't expect to match Messi's Ballon d'Or haul
Cristiano Ronaldo poses for a photo with his 2017 Ballon d’Or after the Portuguese won the award for a joint-record fifth time in Paris on December 7, 2017.
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Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo said he never thought he would equal Lionel Messi's haul of five Ballons d'Or after pulling level with the Barcelona forward by winning the 2017 award on Thursday.

Ronaldo won his first Ballon d'Or while he was at Manchester United in 2008, but then saw Messi win football's most prestigious individual award in each of the next four years before he won it again, ESPN reported.

Messi last triumphed in 2015 with Ronaldo picking it up in each of the last two years to join the Argentina international as the joint-most decorated players in the history of the award.

"I didn't think I'd be able to catch Messi, because after I won my first, he won four, and I thought it would be difficult to equal him," Ronaldo told L'Equipe.

"But football gives you the opportunity to keep working and winning, and I have won, and I'm experiencing a great period."

Ronaldo endured the frustration of watching Messi take the honor, notably when France Football fused the award with the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2010, which led to some uncomfortable moments for the Portugal international.

"I won a Ballon d'Or before Messi and then he overtook me winning four in a row," he said.

"I can't hide the fact I was sad and angry. I went to the awards ceremony and never won. I was even demotivated. I didn't want to go there anymore. I wasn't interested in being there for the photo.

"And then, little by little, thanks to the support of those around me, I said to myself that everything has a start and an end. And that in football, it's the end that counts, not the start. I was patient, and I've won other Ballons d'Or. Today is the fifth, and that pushes me more to keep fighting, without thinking of my age."

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane paid tribute to the four-time Champions League winner saying despite his success he retains the ambition to keep winning.

"When he's here and he's training, when he can score, for example, 10 times in training, he'll score 10 times," Zidane said. "That's what impresses me. To always want to score, always want to win games, even in training. It's his ambition that impresses me."

Former manager Sir Alex Ferguson added that he is proud of the part he played in Ronaldo's development into one of the game's best-ever players.

"The greatest satisfaction I have had with Cristiano was that he came from Madeira, through Sporting Lisbon, and then to my club, and developed into the player he is. You couldn't get greater satisfaction than that," Ferguson told L'Equipe.

"Our training would generally consist of the same things in terms of intensity, but sometimes a player can go on and be different. They have a great desire to practice, and Ronaldo was the best at practicing."

 

‘Best in history’

 

Ronaldo hailed himself as "the best player in history" following his historic fifth Ballon d'Or win.

Speaking to France Football after his win, the Real Madrid striker reflected on his momentous victory.

The Portuguese international was emphatic in declaring himself the greatest player in history.

"I don't see anyone better than me," he said.

"No player does things I cannot do myself but I see things others can't do.

“There’s no more complete player than me."

"I’m the best player in history – in the good and the bad moments."

 

‘Come and get it’

 

Meanwhile, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez opened the door for Neymar to join the European champion by declaring it would help further the forward’s individual ambitions.

Neymar finished third behind Messi and winner Ronaldo in the Ballon d‘Or and Perez suggested the only way for the Brazilian to break the duo’s stranglehold on the prize – which has extended to a decade – would be to join Real.

“Being in Madrid would make it easier to win the Ballon d‘Or,” Perez told Spanish radio.

“Madrid is a club that gives a big player everything they need to do so. Everyone knows I wanted to sign him.”

Perez attempted to bring Neymar to Real from Santos on several occasions before he plumped for archrival Barcelona in 2013.

He enjoyed success in Catalonia, helping Barca win the treble in 2015 before leaving for Paris St. Germain in a world-record €222 million (£193.4 million) deal this year.

 

   
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