• Ballon d'Or

Messi: Ronaldo deserved Ballon d'Or

ESPN staff
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Lionel Messi said injuries had not helped his bid for the 2013 Ballon d'Or award but felt that Cristiano Ronaldo had been a deserving winner of the prize.

Messi had won every edition of the FIFA Ballon d'Or since its 2010 foundation before Ronaldo ended his run on Monday, but the Barcelona star told AS that he had no complaints over the Real Madrid man's triumph.

"I want to congratulate Cristiano because he was the winner and deserved it," Messi, who also claimed the original Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2009, said.

Human touch

Cristiano Ronaldo was reduced to tears after winning the Ballon d'Or © Getty Images
  • Let football celebrate not just Cristiano Ronaldo the player, but Cristiano Ronaldo the person for his firmly deserved Ballon d'Or win, writes Rob Train.
  • Read the full piece here

Ronaldo cried on stage after finishing ahead of Messi and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery, and Messi said: "[His tears] were normal, it is a very emotional moment.

"I have nothing to say. I believe it was a good year for the three players, and that is why we were the three who were there. I have nothing to complain about, nor any excuses to make. It is a pleasure [just] to be here for a seventh consecutive year. It is very nice."

Asked if the result might have been different had he not been hampered by thigh muscle injuries for most of 2013, Messi said: "I do not know if it would have been different without the injuries.

"I was a long time out, that is true. I did not arrive in good condition for the semi-finals of the Champions League, and this season I was injured as soon as the season began, but that has nothing to do with it. Cristiano deserved to win.

"It was a difficult year. Not just for the injuries, but for the things said about me and my family. I hope I can enjoy my football in 2014."

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