For the third time in his career and second year in a row, Cristiano Ronaldo received the Ballon D’or as the top soccer player in 2014.
Ronaldo, with 37.66 percent of votes, beat out Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who had 15.76 percent, and FC Bayern’s goalkeeper, Manuel Neuer who had 15.72 percent.
This marks the seventh straight year that Ronaldo or Messi have taken the honor. Ronaldo won it in 2008, and Messi took it four straight years from 2009 through 2012.
Ronaldo scored 61 total goals for Real Madrid and Portugal in 2014. He led Real Madrid to the franchise’s 10th Champions League title, scoring 17 times, including two in the semi-final against FC Bayern Munich and another in the final against Atletico Madrid.
In this current La Liga season, Ronaldo has already scored an impressive 26 goals in 16 games and also has scored six goals in six Champions League games.
"It has been an incredible year,” Ronaldo said. “I would like to continue the work that I have done so far. I want to try to improve, to become better as each day goes by.
"I never thought that I would bring this trophy back home on three occasions. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time. Of course, this requires a lot of effort and I hope to get there."
His only downfall was the 2014 World Cup where he scored only one goal in three games as Portugal, his national team, failed to advance from the group stage.
Despite a poor performance in the World Cup, Ronaldo conquered yet another record in 2014: He became the leader in hat tricks in Spain's La Liga history with 23.
Whether you believe Ronaldo deserves the honor of top football or not, Argentinian soccer legend Pele seems to agree with the voters.
"I think at the moment no doubt Ronaldo is the best player," Pele said.