When did Cristiano Ronaldo win his Ballon d'Or awards? Seasons and stats
Manchester United forward Cristiano Ronaldo has staged a running battle with Leo Messi in the Ballon d'Or stakes, winning four at Real Madrid.
For over a decade the Ballon d’Or was a straight shoot-out between the two most dominant players of their generation, Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi, one of the other topping the podium every year from 2008 until 2018, when Luka Modric broke the duopoly. More often than not, whichever player lost out was voted second, with the likes of Neymar, Antoine Griezmann, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and – in a rare nod towards a gloveman – Manuel Neuer left to rue the hegemony of the Portuguese and Argentinean award magnets.
This year, the field is considerably more open and it appears likely that a different player will get his hands on the coveted golden ball during Monday’s ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris. Due to the manner of voting for the Ballon d’Or, which is carried out by football journalists, national team captains and managers, there are rarely any surprises when the bow ties are straightened and this year the shortlist contains few wildcards.
Lewandowski favourite for 2021 Ballon d'Or
The favourite for the gong is Robert Lewandowski - who beat Gerd Müller’s long-standing record for goals in a single Bundesliga season on his way to the Golden Shoe and was expected to win last year - but Messi and Ronaldo cannot be ruled out, the Argentinean finally leading his country to a major title at the Copa América and the Portuguese establishing himself as the top scorer of all time at international level with 115 goals.
Several members of Italy’s European Championship-winning side are also included as well as Borussia Dortmund goal machine Erling Haaland and PSG forward Kylian Mbappé.
Ronaldo is an outside bet this year after a disappointing end to his Juventus career, which reaped the Coppa Italia but also saw Inter end the Old Lady’s Serie A dominance and Porto deny the Portuguese a tilt at a sixth Champions League crown. However, Ronaldo did end the campaign with the Capocannoniere award after banging in 29 Serie A goals.
As such, Ronaldo may have to contend with a watching brief on Monday and a 12-month wait to add to his five Ballons d’Or as he pursues Messi’s record haul of six. In the meantime, we take a look at his previous wins.
Manchester United: 2008
Ronaldo beat Messi and Fernando Torres to the award in 2008 after Manchester United won the Champions League and Ronaldo bagged the European Golden Shoe with 31 Premier League goals as Sir Alex Ferguson’s side defended their domestic title. Ronaldo also top-scored in Europe with eight and found the net in the final against Chelsea, although he did miss his penalty in the shoot-out.
Final voting: Ronaldo 446, Messi 281, Torres 179
2013: Real Madrid
Ronaldo would be forced to watch Messi hoover up the next four awards – the final Ballon d’Or and then the first three FIFA Ballons d’Or as the global governing body and France Football joined forces to merge their awards – before he finally got his hands on his second in 2013, when he narrowly saw off the challenge of Barcelona number 10 and Franck Ribéry. However, it was not without controversy after voting was extended from 15 November for two further weeks to take in the 2014 World Cup playoffs. Ronaldo seized the day, scoring all four goals as Portugal beat Sweden 4-2 on aggregate to secure their place in Brazil, and also ended the calendar year with 69 goals in 59 games, including five hat-tricks. Still, Ronaldo will not appreciate the distinction of becoming the first player in the 21st century to win the award without winning a trophy at club or international level. Ribéry, fresh from a treble at Bayern Munich, certainly didn’t.
Final voting: Ronaldo 27.99%, Messi 24.72%, Ribéry 23.36%.
2014: Real Madrid
Ronaldo secured back-to-back awards the following season in considerably more style as Real Madrid won the Champions League and the Copa del Rey, Ronaldo bagging 17 in Europe and 31 in 30 LaLiga games, enough to land the Pichichi award ahead of Messi and the Golden Shoe, which he shared with Luis Suárez. Ronaldo was also named Liga player of the season and won the domestic goal of the year award for his strike against Valencia. Even Portugal’s failure to get beyond the group stage at the World Cup wasn’t going to sway voters in any other direction, even if Atlético pipped both Madrid and Barça to the Liga title.
Final voting: Ronaldo 37.66%, Messi 15.76%, Neuer 15.72%
2016: Real Madrid
The first of the freshly reinstalled Ballon d’Or awards, following FIFA’s decision to reinstate its own gong, went to Ronaldo as he closed the gap on Messi to 5-4. In a change to the previous voting system, an international panel of 173 journalists were responsible for electing the Ballon d’Or winner on a points system. In 2015-16 Ronaldo became Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer and he did in style, overtaking Raúl’s Liga tally with five goals in a single game against Espanyol. He also overtook Messi in the Champions League and scored his 500th career goal against Malmö.
The Portuguese added another Champions League win to his laurels and ended the season with 51 goals in 48 appearances, although Luis Suárez beat him to the Golden Shoe with a haul of 40 in LaLiga for champions Barça, who won the title by a single point. For good measure, Ronaldo also captained Portugal to the 2016 European Championship, his primary contribution a two-goal haul against Hungary with Fernando Santos’ side on the verge of elimination in the group stage.
Final voting: Ronaldo 745, Messi 316, Griezmann 198
2017: Real Madrid
The following year Ronaldo topped the voting again and equalled Messi’s record of five Ballons d’Or after helping Madrid to a Liga and Champions League double with 42 goals in 46 appearances. The Portuguese was top scorer in Europe again with 12 in total, five of which came across two legs against Bayern Munich in the quarterfinals as Madrid won the tie 6-3 on aggregate, Ronaldo scoring twice in extra time to see his side through while also chalking up his 100th Champions League goal. He added a hat-trick in the first leg of the semi-final against Atlético and two in the final against Juventus to cap an incredible scoring run in the knock-out stages as Madrid became the first side since Milan in 1990 to win back-to-back European Cup / Champions League titles.
Final voting: Ronaldo 946, Messi 640, Neymar 361