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Media Reaction to Cristiano's Big Night
ESPN FC, January 14th, 2014 11:59AM

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TAGS:  barcelona, bayern munich, cristiano ronaldo, germany, lionel messi, real madrid, spain, uefa champions league


The reaction in the Spanish press to Cristiano Ronaldo winning the 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or was nearly unanimous: that the best man had won soccer’s top individual prize. In the capital, the top sports papers celebrated the Real Madrid forward’s victory. AS led with ‘The Best Won’ on its cover, while Marca chose the headline ‘Lloro’ -- a play on the words ‘cried’ and ‘golden.’ The Portuguese’s win was less celebrated in Catalonia, where Mundo Deportivo led with the objective headline ‘Cristiano Wins,’ while the somewhat more partisan Sport claimed ‘This time the best has not won’ on its front page.

The reactions from the night’s two losers -- Barcelona’s four-time winner Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich winger Franck Ribery -- were also interesting. Messi congratulated his rival, saying, “I would like to congratulate Cristiano for winning, he deserves it. ... I’ve got no complaints or excuses, the best man won.” The Barcelona striker only mentioned the repeated muscle injuries that cut into his 2013 when directly asked. “I don’t know if it would have been different if I didn’t have the injury,” he said. “I was out for quite a long time, that’s for sure. I wasn’t in my best form for the Champions League semifinals [Bayern Munich won the series 7-0] and I fell injured almost as soon as the season started ...  but it’s all irrelevant. For merit, Cristiano deserved to win.”

Bayern’s Ribery, on the other hand, told German paper Bild: "What more could I have done after winning all those titles?” Indeed, Bayern won five trophies in 2013: the German Bundesliga, the German Cup, UEFA Champions League, European Super Cup and Club World Cup. The France international added: "It does not matter if you are second or third. I am not selfish and this title is not my goal. I prefer to win everything again with Bayern this season and also win the 2014 World Cup. That is what is important. Obviously I would have liked to have won but it's all right."

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