Cristiano Ronaldo wins the 2014 Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo wins the 2014 Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo successfully defended his world player of the year status convincingly with 37.66% of all votes, winning for a third time (like Cruijff, Platini and Van Basten before him). Barcelona and Argentina attacker Lionel Messi, who won four years in a row until Ronaldo beat him last year, was second on 15.76%, narrowly ahead of Bayern Munich and Germany keeper Manuel Neuer, who had 15.72%. Ronaldo, who scored 52 goals in 43 games during 2014, looked emotional when collecting the award from former France, Barcelona and Arsenal striker Thierry Henry.

In a stellar year Ronaldo led Real to their 10th European title and broke the Champions League scoring record with 17 goals across the campaign. “It’s been an unforgettable year,” he said. “To win this trophy, a trophy of this kind, is something unique, and all I can say is that I want to continue working as I have, and go on to more titles for my mother and my wife, and my father, who is up there looking down on me, and my son. I should like to say to all the people of Portugal I never thought I would earn this trophy on three different occasions. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time. This requires a lot of effort. I hope to get there.”

Wolfsburg and Germany midfielder Nadine Kessler was named women’s player of the year. The 26-year-old beat Brazil’s Marta and United States international Abby Wambach.

Kessler said: “My heart is beating madly at the moment. I don’t think I ever thought in my life I would achieve this moment. Without my team-mates and my coach, this would never have been possible. I have a great degree of gratitude that I must give to my family. They have seen me through all the difficult times.”

Germany boss Joachim Low won Fifa Men’s Football Coach of the Year: “It is a huge honor after what’s been an incredibly successful year,” he said. “It’s the icing on the cake, the cake obviously being the World Cup. I’m just taking this award on behalf of everybody who has taken this team to where it is. I would like to thank all the German coaches who do so much good work with the young players. They are all coaches of the year.”

Low beat Diego Simeone, who led Atletico Madrid to the Spanish title and Champions League final, and Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti, whose side beat their city rivals to become European champions for a record 10th time.

Wolfsburg boss Ralf Kellermann was named women’s football coach of the year after leading the German club to a successful defence of the Champions League. He said: “This award is an outstanding moment. Unfortunately I’ve picked up an individual award for what is team sport, so I dedicate this to my whole team. I would also like to pay tribute to Junior Malanda (Wolfsburg Midfielder), who was so sadly taken from us two days ago.” Kellermann beat Germany Under-20 boss Maren Meinert and Japan boss Norio Sasaki to the award.

The Presidential Award, was picked by Fifa president Sepp Blatter for “a person that has made a superlative contribution to football without seeking to monopolise the limelight”. The winner was Japanese journalist Hiroshi Kagawa, who covered his 10th World Cup last summer at the age of 89.

Fifa Fair Play Award was won by the thousands of volunteers who gave up their time to work at Fifa competitions, including the World Cup, over the past 12 months.

Colombia’s James Rodriguez won the Fifa goal of the year award for his World Cup strike against Uruguay, beating Irishwoman Stephanie Roche and Manchester United’s Robin Van Persie. Roche, who scored a stunner for Peamount against Wexford in the Irish top flight, had hoped to be the first female winner of the Puskas Award. She landed 33% of the public vote to Rodriguez’s 42%. Holland striker Robin van Persie, the third nominee, earned just 11% for his diving header against Spain in the World Cup.

The Fifa/FifPro World XI team was as follows: Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), David Luiz (Brazil/PSG), Philipp Lahm (Germany/Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Brazil/PSG), Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Angel Di Maria (Argentina/Manchester United), Arjen Robben (Netherlands/Bayern Munich), Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid).