Belfast Telegraph

Let's hope Cristiano Ronaldo gets the credit he deserves

By Ali Gordon

2014 was a glittering year for football. The World Cup in Brazil proved to be compelling viewing, as expected, and the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and all the major cups and competitions in between served us fans up with a feast of sporting greatness.

But with all that talent on display, picking the star of the last 12 months is certainly no easy task. The variety of those players on the Ballon d'Or shortlist indicated that.

The debate over who should be crowned Ballon d'Or winner in January continues after organisers announced earlier this month that Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer were the top three contenders.

Neuer was outstanding in Brazil and Messi does hold the record for the most Ballon d'Or triumphs, thanks to an impressive run of four in four years, but this year surely belongs to Ronaldo.

His World Cup campaign ended early, after a disappointing Portugal crashed out of the group stages, but Ronaldo still showed his class.

While Messi had other stars around him at Argentina, Ronaldo was Portugal's plan A, B and C and he paid massively for his hugely successful club season at Real Madrid where he broke a number of goal-scoring records and won La Liga, La Decima and a Champions League title.

His honours list is so impressive that his birthplace, Funchal, even erected a statue of him at the weekend. One that looks absolutely nothing like him, despite Ronaldo praising its attention to detail...

Let's hope he gets the credit he deserves next month, and not by means of another horrendous looking sculpture.

Belfast Telegraph

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