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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: Ronaldo, Pele get emotional at Ballon d'Or awards night

PHOTOS: Ronaldo, Pele get emotional at Ballon d'Or awards night

January 14, 2014 10:58 IST

PHOTOS: Ronaldo, Pele get emotional at Ballon d'Or awards night

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Cristiano Ronaldo was overcome with emotion after being voted the world's best player for 2013 on Monday, ending his great rival Lionel Messi's dominance of the award.

Although he failed to win any major titles with Real Madrid last season, Ronaldo was rewarded for his immense goal-scoring prowess as he swept aside Messi, winner for the last four years, and Frenchman Franck Ribery.

"Thank you to everyone, my teammates, the national team and my family, to everyone here," the Portugal and Real Madrid forward said, choking with emotion after accepting the trophy.

"I can't speak," added Ronaldo, runner-up for three of the last four years, before breaking down.


Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo holds his trophy after being awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 in Zurich on Monday
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Voting was in the hands of the 209 national team coaches and captains, plus 173 selected journalists, and FIFA was at pains to point out that the process was transparent, especially after the original deadline was extended by two weeks due to a poor turnout.

FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said the deadline extension, from November 15 to November 29, had not affected the outcome which was independently audited by accounting firm Price WaterhouseCoopers (PWC).

"The ranking of the final three at the end of November is exactly the same as the ranking in mid-November," De Gregorio told reporters. "The only difference is that we had more votes."


Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo embraces his son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr after being awarded the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 in Zurich on Monday
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Jupp Heynckes, now retired, was named coach of the year for the first time after leading Bayern Munich to an unprecedented Bundesliga, Cup and Champions League treble, a fitting end to a 48-year career as player and coach.

The Afghanistan Football Federation and fiery Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic were among other award winners.

Afghanistan was given the Fair Play award after staging its first home game for 10 years, a friendly against Pakistan.


Image: FIFA Coach of the Year Jupp Heynckes (right) poses with Women's world coach of the year Silvia Neid of the German women's national team
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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Ibrahimovic won the Ferenc Puskas award for the best goal of the year, although his stunning overhead kick from near the touchline in a friendly against England was scored in 2012 and missed the deadline for last year's ceremony.

The volatile Swede, who in November said that he did not need the Ballon d'Or to know he was the best, was surprisingly mild in his acceptance speech, limiting himself to thanking the audience and wishing good luck to the contenders.


Image: Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic (right), winner of the FIFA Puskas Award for Goal of the Year, poses with FIFA President Sepp Blatter on Monday
Photographs: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

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Pele burst into tears on being awarded the first ever Fifa Ballon d'Or Prix d'Honneur or the Honorary award.  

The former Brazil international was ineligible to win the Ballon d'Or during his playing days, because back then it was only reserved for European footballers.

Pele was named Fifa Player of the Century in 2000, and part of the Fifa World Cup Dream Team two years later.

"I promised to my family that I would not cry but I am emotional," he said. "First of all I have to thank God for giving me the health to play so many years.

"Of course I did not play alone. When we talk about my friends people remember the players but we don't have to forget the guy who cleaned the shoes, the masseur - I had a lot of good people on my side. I have to share with them all this trophy.

"I got so many trophies and prizes but I was jealous because all of those guys who got the Ballon d'Or, which I couldn't get because I didn't play in Europe. Now I thank God that I can complete my trophies at home."


Image: Pele reacts after receiving the FIFA honorary award or the Prix d'Honneur during the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 soccer awards ceremony on Monday
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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The ceremony, hosted by former Netherlands international Ruud Gullit and Brazilian presenter Fernanda Lima, took nearly 90 minutes, interrupted by banal interludes featuring personalities from 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil.

Brazil forward Neymar, among those to be hauled on stage, was clearly embarrassed when asked to say who he would like his team to meet in the World Cup final.

"We don't care, we will meet anybody. There are so many other great teams there, as long as we are in the final I don't mind," he said timidly.


Image: Afghanistan Football Federation President Karim Keramuddin (centre) holds the trophy after the Afghanistan Football Federation received the FIFA Fair Play award on Monday
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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The Fifpro World XI team announced at the awards on Monday, did not include any EPL players. The team included players only from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Paris St-Germain and Real Madrid.

Five British players were named on a long list for the team, which is chosen by 50,000 professional footballers from across the world.

No player from Germany's Bundesliga or France's Ligue 1 had previously been selected, with Spain's La Liga making up the entire team last year. 


Image: Former Bayern Munich coach Jupp Heynckes, winner of the FIFA Coach of the Year award, poses with winners of the FIFPro World XI, Bayern Munich's Philipp Lahm (left), Franck Ribery (2nd from right) and Manuel Neuer (right), on Monday
Photographs: Ruben Sprich/Reuters

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The poll for both player and coach of the year leaned heavily towards Europe.

Ivory Coast and Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure was the only African player to make either of the original shortlists of 23 players and 10 coaches and there were no representatives from Asia or CONCACAF.

Brazil's Luiz Felipe Scolari was the only South American coach to be considered. Stephen Keshi, who won the African Nations Cup with Nigeria, and Safet Susic, who led Bosnia to their first World Cup, were among those to be overlooked.


Image: FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 winner Cristiano Ronaldo (left) of Portugal poses with Women's World Player of the Year winner Nadine Angerer of Germany during the FIFA Ballon d'Or 2013 soccer awards ceremony in Zurich on Monday
Photographs: Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters

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