Ronaldo was the obvious No. 1 pick

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2014 Ballon d’Or award after being named the world’s best player for a second consecutive year was inevitable considering what a glorious 12 months he had. 

Despite Ronaldo being pretty anonymous at the World Cup, where he captained Portugal, the 29-year-old forward was expected to pip Germany’s World Cup winning keeper Manuel Neuer and perennial rival Lionel Messi. 

Ronaldo was an integral player as Real Madrid won four trophies in 2014, and he scored a stunning 56 goals in 51 appearances as the Spanish giants collected the Copa del Rey, Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup.  

Neuer was outstanding for Germany in Brazil and was a linchpin of the Bayern Munich side that did so well. Messi too had a great year, but he was plagued with distractions – like unpaid income tax problems and injury. Though he has won it four times in the past, he did not do enough throughout the year to justify regaining the coveted title.  

Nadine Kessler, the Wolfsburg and Germany midfielder, won women’s player of the year, and Colombia’s James Rodriguez won goal of the year.  

Germany’s World Cup winner Joachim Low was men’s coach of the year. 

Wolfsburg boss Ralf Kellermann got the nod for women’s football coach of the year after a successful defense of the Champions League. 

The three candidates for the Ballon d’Or were all picked in the team of the year, along with defenders Philipp Lahm, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Sergio Ramos, midfielders Andres Iniesta, Toni Kroos and Angel Di Maria and forward Arjen Robben. 

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