Photo: Cristiano Ronaldo
UEFA on Thursday presented Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo with its Best Player in Europe Award.
The Portuguese international and reigning Ballon d’Or beat out German World Cup-winning goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and Dutch winger Arjen Robben in the vote by a panel of 54 journalists.
Ronaldo, 29, set a Champions League record in 2013-2014, knocking in 17 goals during the campaign that culminated in Real Madrid’s 10th win in Europe’s pre-eminent club tourney.
He scored 51 goals for the Blancos in 51 matches in all competitions to lead La Liga in scoring and share Europe’s Golden Boot with Luis Suarez.
“I’m really happy so I must say thanks to my teammates because without the team, individual awards would not be possible,” Ronaldo said after accepting the award from UEFA President Michel Platini following the 2014-2015 Champions League draw at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco.
Ronaldo has been one of the three finalists for the Best Player in Europe every year since the prize was established in 2011, but this is the first time he has won.
Neuer and Robben both play for Bayern Munich, which won the Bundesliga and German Cup.