Cristiano Ronaldo has been chosen the world's best soccer player for the third time, just before his thirtieth birthday. The record-breaking Portuguese forward, currently at Real Madrid, saw his superb performance in 2014 crowned at the highest level: Cristiano Ronaldo is the best soccer player on the Planet.
Cristiano Ronaldo won his third title of best soccer player for the year, after the Ballon d'Or for Best European Player in 2008, and simultaneously, the FIFA Best Player of the Year in the same year, and the amalgamated title, FIFA Ballon d'Or, in 2013 and 2014, after a marvelous season in which he scored 60 goals in 61 appearances and helped Real Madrid to the FIFA World Club Championship, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Spanish Copa del Rey.
Signaling his victory with the words "I would like to thank all of those who voted for me, my president, my coach and Real Madrid. It has been an unforgettable year. To win this trophy at the end of it is something incredibly unique, " Ronaldo obtained 37.66% of the vote, Messi had 15.76% and Neuer 15.72%.
Leonel Messi (Argentina and Barcelona) was second and Manuel Neuer (Germany and Bayern Munich) third. Nadine Kessler (Germany and Wolfsburg) was voted Women's Player of the Year and James Rodriguez (Colombia and Real Madrid) won Best Goal of the Year, the Puskas Award, beating the fabulous individual effort from the Irish women's player Stephanie Roche. Joaquim Löw (Germany national team) won Men's Coach of the Year and Ralf Kellermann won Women's Football Coach of the Year with Wolfsburg (defending the second consecutive Champions League title).
Even as a boy, in Lisbon, where Sporting Club de Portugal had enticed him from his native Isle of Madeira, Cristiano Ronaldo was strapping weights to his legs and doing extra training to build up his physique to achieve his goal, which even then was the be the best soccer player in the world.
Those who work close beside him will vouch for the fact that he is always the first to enter the training ground and the last to leave, practising free kicks, and then many times going on to a multi-gym to do even more training, leaving fellow professionals gasping for breath, telling him "That's enough!"
This drive to succeed and keep his body in trim for the tremendous strains placed on a modern-day soccer player is accompanied with a singular professionalism off the pitch, for which reason the name Cristiano Ronaldo is not associated with late-night drinking sprees which fill the gossip columns about other players. In the case of Cristiano Ronaldo, it's a glass of water, maybe two, and early to bed.
Finally, the charity work and donations made by Cristiano Ronaldo reveals an inner greatness which few have written about, making him at 29years of age an excellent ambassador for his club (Real Madrid), as he was before for Manchester United and Sporting CP, and for his country, Portugal, which he almost single-handedly fired into the 2014 FIFA World Cup Finals in Brazil, yet after the two play-off games with Sweden (in which he scored four goals including a hat-trick in Stockholm), he declared modestly "I was just doing my job".
Today, Cristiano Ronaldo is the best soccer player in the world, and this is the fruit of his own hard work, professionalism, intelligence in managing his career and his image in a white-hot world of media intrusion. The notion remains that from Cristiano Ronaldo, there is still much more to come, both on and off the soccer field.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. He is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights.