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Cristiano Ronaldo Wins 2014 Ballon D'Or; Lionel Messi Runner-Up

The Portuguese star caps off an amazing personal year with his second consecutive Golden Ball, while the Barça superstar still gets plenty of recognition for another spectacular season

Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

No surprises. Cristiano Ronaldo has won the 2014 FIFA Ballon D'Or, capping off an amazing personal season with the most prestigious individual award in football and getting the nod for the second consecutive year, the third in his career. Ronaldo beat Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer to get the prize, and his record-setting season is recognized with a Golden Ball. CR7 is the first Real Madrid player ever to win the award in consecutive seasons.

Ronaldo deservedly wins the award after leading Real Madrid to their tenth UEFA Champions League title, Ronaldo's second personal European trophy. And CR7 won it in spectacular fashion, setting the record for most goals ever scored in a single edition of the tournament, with an astonishing mark of 17 goals in 11 appearances, a truly great accomplishment for the Portuguese star.

Winning the UCL was a good enough argument for Ronaldo to take the Golden Ball home, but that wasn't just what he did. CR7 had the best year of his career, scoring a whopping 61 goals in 60 appearances, while also finishing with 22 total assists for club and country.

Manuel Neuer also had a great case to win the Ballon D'Or, winning the World Cup with a fantastic set of performances as a sweeper-keeper. The German star didn't only play great in Brazil, but he provided Bayern Munich with spectacular game after spectacular game, and separated himself from the rest, and was established as the best goalkeeper on the planet.

Finally, there's Lionel Messi. The Barcelona superstar had allegedly a "down year" in his career, his first season ever as a professional without winning a championship. But he was still able to score 58 goals and dish out 21 assists in 66 appearances this year for club and country. His performances for Argentina in the World Cup were good enough to give him the Golden Ball for best player in the competition. However, the lack of trophies definitely hurt his case for the Ballon D'Or.

Congrats to Ronaldo. He deserves it.

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