The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

January 13, 2014

Ronaldo wins FIFA's Player of the Year Award

(Continued)

Ronaldo had to wait five years since first winning the award as a Manchester United player, as Messi found a way to overshadow him in each of the past four years - despite the Portugal winger's prolific scoring for Madrid. However, Ronaldo was heavily favored this time after FIFA extended the balloting deadline beyond the World Cup playoffs in November and allowed voters to change preferences.

The Portugal star's display in Stockholm was so impressive it seemed certain to sway voters at a time when Messi was sidelined by his third injury of the year.

Still, FIFA spokesman Walter De Gregorio said Monday the standings were unchanged by the voting rules adjustment, which raised the turnout from around 50 to 88 percent.

Ronaldo said earlier Monday that he made peace with FIFA President Sepp Blatter, whose stated personal preference last October for Messi sparked speculation that the eventual winner would snub the ceremony.

"We talked over the telephone and everything was cleared," Ronaldo at a news conference before the ceremony. "This is no longer an issue, neither for us nor for football."

Though Ribery lost, Bayern got one victory as Jupp Heynckes won the coaching award for leading the team to a Champions League, Bundesliga and national cup treble last season before he retired. Heynckes defeated Juergen Klopp, whose Borussia Dortmund team lost the all-German Champions League final, and Alex Ferguson, who retired after winning another Premier League title for Manchester United.

Germany national team coach Sylvia Neid won the women's award, beating Sweden coach Pia Sundhage and Ralf Kellermann, who led Wolfsburg to the Champions League title.

The World XI elected by players in the FIFPro group of national unions was: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich, Germany); Dani Alves (Barcelona, Brazil), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid, Spain), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil), Philipp Lahm (Bayern, Germany); Andres Iniesta (Barcelona, Spain), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona, Spain), Ribery (Bayern, France); Ronaldo (Madrid, Portugal), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (PSG, Sweden), and Messi (Barcelona, Argentina).

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