Ronaldo wins Golden Ball award | sports | Hindustan Times
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Ronaldo wins Golden Ball award

sports Updated: Dec 02, 2008 09:34 IST

Cristiano Ronaldo won the Golden Ball awarded to the European Footballer of the Year on Tuesday, becoming the fourth Manchester United player to take the honour and the first since fellow winger George Best in 1968.

Ronaldo's brilliant scoring form helped him beat Barcelona striker Lionel Messi into second place, while Liverpool forward Fernando Torres was third in the poll results announced overnight by France Football magazine.

Ronaldo dominated the voting, tallying 446 points. Messi had 281 points and Torres had 179.

That gave Ronaldo two points more than Kaka won last year's award with.

Ronaldo was second last year with 277, while Messi was third with 255. Kaka, Milan's Brazilian playmaker, was eighth this time with only 31 points.

Ronaldo scored 42 goals in all competitions last season as United won the Premier League and Champions League trophies.

The 23-year-old Ronaldo adds the Ballon d'Or award to the FIFA Pro World Player of the Year trophy he won in October, and the Professional Footballers Association and the Football Writers awards.

He also becomes the first Premier League player to win since former Liverpool forward Michael Owen in 2001, and the first Portuguese player since winger Luis Figo won it with Real Madrid in 2000.

France Football's award was decided by an annual poll of football journalists with a short list of 30 players.

Following Portugal's disappointing showing at the European Championship in June, Ronaldo underwent an operation to his troublesome right ankle injury in July that then kept him sidelined until September 17.