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Ronaldo breaks Messi's stranglehold on Ballon d'Or

Cristiano Ronaldo tears up while receiving soccer’s biggest individual prize.

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Cristiano Ronaldo tears up while receiving soccer’s biggest individual prize.

ZURICH — Cristiano Ronaldo couldn't hide how much it meant to him, finally being voted the world's best player again.

Having spent four years in the shadow of his great rival Lionel Messi, Ronaldo broke down in tears Monday after being elected the Ballon d'Or winner for 2013 — a rare display of emotion that showed just how important it was for the Portugal winger to lay his hands on the trophy again.

Ronaldo first won soccer's biggest individual prize five years ago. He then watched as Messi found a way of upstaging him each year despite Ronaldo consistently scoring at an unprecedented rate for Real Madrid.

"There are no words to describe this moment," said Ronaldo, crying openly while his 3-year-old son, also named Cristiano, stood at his feet. The little boy had just been hoisted by Brazil great Pele to touch the golden trophy as dad gathered himself to speak.

"People who know me know how many people helped me," Ronaldo said in Portuguese. "If I have forgotten anyone, I do apologize because I am deeply moved."

Ronaldo had 69 goals in 2013, and his hat trick against Sweden in a decisive World Cup playoff in November was the year's defining individual performance.

Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer was voted the best women's player in the world. Angerer, the current European player of the year, defeated U.S. forward Abby Wambach, last year's winner, and five-time champion Marta of Brazil.

U.S. WOMEN: The Americans defeated Guatemala 10-0 and finished 3-0 in Group A at the CONCACAF Under-20 championships in George Town, Cayman Islands. Florida forward Savannah Jordan had her third goal in three games and McKenzie Meehan had a hat trick for the U.S. team, which plays in Friday's semifinals against an opponent to be determined.

OBITUARY: Bobby Collins, the diminutive former Scotland midfielder who played for Celtic, Leeds and Everton during a 25-year career in which he won the English footballer of the year award, died in London after a long illness. He was 82.

MLS: Toronto FC unveiled Michael Bradley as its newest player, signing the American midfielder from Italian club AS Roma.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Arsenal scored two goals within 59 seconds on its way to a 2-1 win over Aston Villa that put the visitors back on top of the league.

ITALY: Inter Milan was held to a 1-1 draw at home to Chievo Verona in Serie A as an incorrectly disallowed goal saw its poor run continue.

Ronaldo breaks Messi's stranglehold on Ballon d'Or 01/13/14 [Last modified: Monday, January 13, 2014 11:45pm]

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