Cristiano Ronaldo has joined LiveScore as Official Global Brand Ambassador. Over five days we’re charting the seasons in which he won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award.
Three trophies, a third Ballon d’Or and a second in succession — Cristiano Ronaldo won’t forget 2014 in a hurry.
The Portuguese was at the peak of his powers, winning the Copa del Rey, World Club Cup and, most importantly, a first Champions League medal in Real Madrid colours — La Decima.
Here’s how Ronaldo swept up the silverware in a truly memorable year for Los Blancos and their No7.
Retaining the trophy
It’s one thing to be awarded the Ballon d’Or, but quite another to retain it.
Ronaldo made it back-to-back wins when he was named the world’s best player in 2014 and it wasn’t even close.
He received 37.66% of the votes that year, well ahead of rival Lionel Messi in second place with 15.76%. Perhaps that shouldn’t be surprising, either.
After all, the 2013-14 campaign saw Ronaldo score a ridiculous 51 goals in 47 games, all while adding a trio of trophies to his ever-expanding haul.
After winning the Spanish title in 2011-12, Real and Ronaldo were craving success on the continent. But they needed additional firepower to make that dream a reality.
Never one to shy away from signing a galactico, Madrid president Florentino Perez produced the goods with the addition of Tottenham winger Gareth Bale for £85.3million in September 2013.
It proved to be a masterstroke — the ‘BBC’ of Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano built up a thrilling relationship in the final third, scoring a combined 97 goals in all competitions.
Madrid were desperate to end their wait for a 10th European Cup and Ronaldo was determined to deliver in 2013-14.
He attacked the Champions League like never before, racking up nine goals in the group stage before scoring a further seven en-route to the final.
Never was his influence more keenly felt than in the round of 16 against Schalke, when Ronaldo scored braces in both legs including a mesmerising stepover and finish in Gelsenkirchen.
Ultimately the Portuguese legend was to stamp his mark on the final too, scoring an extra time penalty to round off a 4-1 victory over city rivals Atletico Madrid.
The spot kick took his total in the tournament to 17 for the season — a new record.
Performing in Portugal
That Champions League win ended Madrid’s 12-year wait for the biggest trophy in European football, but it took on extra significance for Ronaldo with the final being played in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon.
Reflecting on a memorable moment in his career, he said: “It was an unbelievable night, to win La Decima here in Portugal with a beautiful crowd.
“It’s something we’ve been wanting for many, many years and I’m really pleased and happy. I think the team deserved it because we played better than Atletico Madrid.”
Real’s No7 added: “Of course it’s a dream for me. I’m really proud to win it here. We’ve worked all these years to win these kind of trophies so I’m happy with my team-mates and the fans — they deserve that.”
Sacrifices for the team
Despite suffering with tendonitis and thigh muscle issues in the latter stages of the 2013-14 season, Ronaldo played through the pain barrier to feature in the Champions League final and later the 2014 World Cup.
He admitted as much after the tournament, saying: “In your life you do not win without sacrifices and you must take risks. We were taking part in big competitions and it was difficult.”
The forward continued: “I did not want to miss the final of the Champions League or the World Cup. I was not fully fit, but I forced the issue.”
It was Ronaldo personified — an insatiable desire to win, an elite mentality and a determination to do whatever it takes to be the best.
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