Former Manchester United great Cristiano Ronaldo had some kind words for Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy after winning the Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo has paid tribute to both Rio Ferdinand and Ruud van Nistelrooy after winning his record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or.
The 32-year-old was handed the prestigious individual honour for a second consecutive year after his 42 goals helped Real Madrid win both the Champions League and La Liga last season.
Among his individual highlights was a double against Juventus in the Champions League final back in May, which helped Ronaldo beat both Barcelona great Lionel Messi and PSG superstar Neymar to the accolade.
Ronaldo first won the award while playing for Manchester United and was quick to pay tribute to two of his former team-mates, Ferdinand and van Nistelrooy – despite falling out with the latter back in 2006.
“I was different from the other kids,” he told David Ginola after receiving his award at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) December 7, 2017
“But when I noticed I was really good, I was in (Manchester) United.
“Then I was with other great players. Van Nistelrooy, Ferdinand.
“In the first season I thought of dedicating myself even more to guarantee the second Golden Ball.”
Only one current United player, David de Gea, was nominated for the award and the Spaniard finished in 20th place in the voting.
Among those below him were Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Juventus’ Leonardo Bonucci and Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
But it was Juventus legend Gianluigi Buffon who finished as the highest-placed goalkeeper in fourth place in his final season with the Bianconeri .