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Real Madrid’s Ronaldo named European Player of the Year Wolfburg’s Kessler wins women’s award

MONACO, Aug 28, (AFP): Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was on Thursday named European Footballer of the Year, the Portuguese striker topping the journalists’ poll ahead of Germany’s World Cup winner Manuel Neuer and Dutchman Arjen Robben. Ronaldo is the fourth recipient of the award, succeeding Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi. France’s Ribery won the award last time around ahead of Messi and Ronaldo. This time Ronaldo prevailed in a vote by 54 European journalists which took place on the sidelines of the draw for the Champions League group stages in Monaco.

“I’ve worked hard for this award, I am very happy, I thank all my team, because without that kind of team individual awards couldn’t exist,” said the reigning Ballon d’Or titleholder, after receiving his award from UEFA chief Michel Platini. Ronaldo failed to sparkle at the World Cup in Brazil where Portugal were eliminated in the first round, but inspired Real Madrid on the European stage. The 29-year-old broke the record for goals, 17, by a player in a Champions League campaign last season as Madrid claimed their tenth European title.

“It was amazing, something that Madrid had looked to do for many years,” said the striker. “As Madrid players we feel as though you have to win the Champions League. It was a fantastic season — we won the Champions League, the Spanish Cup and the (UEFA) Super Cup.” Attacking midfielder Nadine Kessler won the women’s award ahead of Wolfburg teammates Nilla Fischer of Sweden and fellow German Martina Muller. Kessler, 26, topped the vote of a jury of 12 journalists to succeed Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer, who claimed the inaugural award last year.

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