CR7 BEATS MESSI & NEUER TO THE TITLE; JAMES WINS BEST GOAL AND JOGI LOW TOP COACH.
Cristiano Ronaldo kept his title as the world’s top player at the FIFA Ballon D’Or gala tonight.
The Real winger had a disappointing World Cup for Portugal but 31 La Liga goals, 17 Champions League strikes and the Champions League and World Club Cup trophies ensured he took home the award for the third time.
Lionel Messi came second and Manuel Neuer third. Ronaldo and Messi have occupied the top two places for four of the past five years and they have both featured in the top three for seven of the past eight years. Ronaldo has won two on the trot but with three wins is still one behind Messi.
Joachim Low’s hard work in winning the World Dominoqq Pkv Cup for Germany saw him named Coach of the Year ahead of Carlo Ancelotti and Diego Simeone, and another Brazil 2014 hero James Rodriguez took the Puskas award for best goal for his wonder strike for Colombia against Uruguay.
James beat Robin Van Persie’s diving header for Holland at the World Cup and Irish female international Stephanie Roche.
The World XI consisted of Manuel Neuer in goal, a back four of Philipp Lahm, Sergio Ramos, David Luiz and Thiago Silva, a midfield of Angel Di Maria, Toni Kroos and Andres Iniesta, and an attacking three of Ronaldo, Messi and Arjen Robben.
Germany’s Nadine Kessler beat Marta and Abby Wambach to win the Women’s Player of the Year Award. Kessler won the German league, Champions League and World Cup in 2014. Germany coach Ralf Kellermann won the women’s coach of the year, capping a glorious night for the DFB.
The FIFA Presidential award went to 89 year-old Japanese football journalist Hiroshi Kagawa and the Fair Play award to FIFA’s Volunteers, the unpaid army who staff every World Cup finals.
Rio Ave, Porto’s third club after FC Porto and Boavista, were flying high for a time early this season. The tiny club based in Vila do Conde on the Atlantic Coast topped the Portuguese league and were still involved in the Europa League. In the last game of the previous season they reached the final of the Taça de Portugal – the Portuguese Cup – only to lose 1-0 to Lisbon’s Benfica.
Rio Ave v Setubal, August 2014.
Mid-season and now Rio Ave are out of European competition though they still stand a creditable sixth in the Primeira Liga.
Rio Ave Futebol Clube play their home games at Estádio do Rio aka Estádio dos Arcos, a compact 12,000 capacity ground that rarely sees attendances of over 2,000 spectators.
Rio Ave v Setubal, August 2014.
Rio Ave FC were founded in 1939 and their present stadium was constructed in 1985.
We caught up with Rio Ave on 18 August, 2014 for a tempestuous 2-0 win over Setubal in front of 1,959 fans on a hot afternoon in northern Portugal. Two second half goals from Diego Lopes and Marcelo settled the game for the home side but not before the hosts had Brazilian Felipe Augusto sent off for an elbow just before the break. Setubal had two men dismissed in the second half in a thoroughly bad-tempered encounter, which left one Rio Ave player down on the far touchline receiving treatment long after the final whistle.
Estádio do Rio is a short walk from Porto Metro Line B station Vila do Conde about 1 hour from central Porto.