Cristiano Ronaldo’s contribution to Real Madrid CF’s UEFA Champions League triumph last season has been recognised with the UEFA Best Player in Europe Award.
The Portugal captain received the 2013/14 accolade at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco from UEFA President Michel Platini. Ronaldo, among the final nominees for the fourth successive year, finished ahead of FC Bayern München’s Arjen Robben and Manuel Neuer in a live vote by a panel of 54 journalists who had to select, via an electronic system, their favourite from a three-man short list announced a fortnight ago.
Ronaldo, speaking during a ceremony that followed the UEFA Champions League group stage draw, said: “I’m really happy so I must say thanks to my team-mates because without the team, individual awards would not be possible. I don’t have this trophy in my museum, so my brother is going to put it there. “
The 29-year-old − who follows Franck Ribéry (2012/13), Andrés Iniesta (2011/12) and Lionel Messi (2010/11) as a recipient of the award – broke the record for goals, 17, by a player in a UEFA Champions League campaign last term as Madrid claimed their long-awaited tenth European title.
“It was amazing, something that Madrid had looked to do for many years. As Madrid players we feel as though you have to win the Champions League. It was a fantastic season – we won the Champions League, the Spanish Cup and the [UEFA] Super Cup.”
Ronaldo also assessed the challenge facing a Merengues side looking to become the first to win back-to-back UEFA Champions League titles. He said: “Everything is possible. I’ve won it with Manchester United and now with Madrid, so we’re looking forward to another one.”
Neuer, Robben and Ronaldo had gained the most points from a second poll of the aforementioned journalists from each of UEFA’s member associations, the three having been part of a ten-strong shortlist revealed last month that was the product of a first round of voting by the same reporters.
Positions four to ten were already fixed after every reporter provided a list of their top three players, with the first receiving three points, the second two points and the third one.
4 Thomas Müller (GER, FC Bayern München) – number of points, 39
5 Philipp Lahm (GER, FC Bayern München) – 24
5 Lionel Messi (ARG, FC Barcelona) – 24
7 James Rodríguez (COL, AS Monaco FC/Real Madrid CF) – 16
8 Luis Suárez (URU, Liverpool FC/FC Barcelona) – 13
9 Ángel Di María (ARG, Real Madrid CF/Manchester United FC) – 12
10 Diego Costa (ESP, Club Atlético de Madrid/Chelsea FC) – 8