Cristiano Ronaldo shrugged off the frustration of picking up an injury against Sunderland by collecting the Ballon d’Or on Sunday.
The Portuguese winger romped to the award last week, seeing off his peers to grab the most prestigious individual honor in football.
Upon collecting the trophy, Ronny told French TV station TF1: “I’m very happy. I’ve always dreamed about winning it. I’m very moved and I’d like to take this opportunity to dedicate this trophy to my family, they’ve helped me get here.
“I thank my mother, my father… my close friends. I had a whole list of people I wanted to thank but it’s difficult, I can’t remember as it’s too emotional. The trophy is splendid, marvellous, very beautiful. I’ve waited for this.”
Flanked by Sir Alex Ferguson at a glitzy ceremony in Paris, Ronaldo was keen to pay tribute to those who had helped him win the award.
“I’m very touched,” he said. “But I’d like to thank my fellow professionals especially my team-mates without whom I wouldn’t have been able to win the Ballon d’Or.
“It’s also thanks to them that I have this award. I was 18 when I came to Manchester. I always had great hopes of becoming a great footballer, in Europe and the world and that’s what I’ve always tried to do – to improve year by year. It’s not been easy but I don’t regret anything that I’ve done to get here.”
Post written for Soccer Pitch by Jaco van Dyk
“It was the first time South Africa had won the IRB tournament at home and also the first time that they had put two successive wins together. The Springboks beat England in Dubai last weekend.
It was a victory against all the odds, with South Africa weakened by the Super 14 call-ups of a number of stalwarts like Schalk van der Merwe, Fabian Juries, Jonothan Mokueana and the non-availability of Stefan Basson and the injured Marius Schoeman and captain Neil Powell.
Built on a solid defence and an unbelievable camaraderie and team spirit, the relatively inexperienced Springboks, lighter than their opponents in virtually every match defied all the odds — and are now clear leaders in the eight-tournament series.
Mzwandile Stick, who led the team in the absence of the injured Powell, was again outstanding in the final and scored the try that put the Boks ahead with less than two minutes remaining.
But hats off to every one of the players in this and the Dubai tournaments.
Robert Ebersohn received the Player of the Tournament award on saturday, but it might just as well have gone to any of Frankie Horn, Mpho Mbyozo, Stick or Renfred Dazel.
Carlos Tevez is keen to lead United’s attack on all fronts after taking his Carling Cup tally to five for the season so far.
Scorer of the match-winning penalty against QPR in the fourth round, the terrific Tevez blasted four past Blackburn Rovers in the fifth. His quadruple included another spot-kick and an opening goal that may in the long run be seen by some as an Aaron Mokoena’s own goal.
Not that Carlos is taking that into consideration for now, as he enjoys the exposure he richly deserves after destroying Paul Ince’s side at Old Trafford.
“I’m very proud to score four goals,” Tevez told MUTV, with his team-mate Rodrigo Possebon acting as interpreter.
“It’s the first time I’ve done it in my career and I’m very proud to have achieved this in a United shirt. We’re very happy as a team with our performance, and I’m happy with my performance as well.
“For the players who do not play very often, it was a very good night because we showed we can play in any game that’s to come in the Premier League or Champions League.”
Chipping in with some words of his own, Possebon echoed Tevez’s pride in the display.
“It was a great performance – five goals, four from Carlito and one from Nani – and we are very proud. Blackburn is a very good team with some players who can make a difference. But we played better and we’re overjoyed to have won again.”
Post written for Soccer Pitch by Jaco van Dyk
Sitiveni Sivivatu scored a classical All Black try in this encounter with the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand in 2005. Aaron Mauger broke the Lion’s line and offloaded excellently to the supporting Tana Umaga, who then threw the perfect long pass out to Sivivatu, who stepped inside to finish superbly.
Australia ended their end of year UK tour with a victory over the Barbarians. The Aussies won 18 – 11 at Wembley Stadium in an very exciting and action packed game.
“The Wallabies, with England referee Chris White seemingly in the festive season spirit already and very generous in his handling of the constant breaches of the law, simply tackled the BaaBaas into submission.
But it was the Australians’ greater enthusiasm and willingness to push the law to its utter limits in both defence and at the breakdown, that won them the day.
The victory was sealed only two minutes from time, by replacement Lachie Turner’s breakaway try after South Africa’s Francois Steyn, who also missed a number of goal-kicks, turned the ball over yet again.
The result meant Australia had won four of their six tour matches – also beating Italy, England and France, but losing to New Zealand, in Hong Kong, and Wales last weekend in Cardiff.
Australia took the Rugby Union gold medal in 1908 with a 32-3 victory over Great Britain, represented by the south-west English county of Cornwall.
The Barbarians, in honour of that match, all wore yellow Cornwall socks as they departed from their usual tradition of players wearing their club socks.
BaaBaas try-scorer Jerry Collins, who last year played for Cornish side Barnstaple, even dyed his hair yellow.
The Barbarians were 6-13 behind with just under 30 minutes left when they got back into the game with a superb try.
Australia fullback James O’Connor’s poor kick out of defence gave possession back to the Barbarians and Steyn, playing at flyhalf, threw a long cut-out pass to Welsh wing Shane Williams, the newly-crowned International Rugby Board Player of the Year.
Williams, on as a half-time replacement for Percy Montgomery, sprinted clear down the touchline.
Having a look at the teams for the Barbarians vs Australia encounter tonight, anyone who is a rugby fan will have their mouths watering at this juicy encounter. Here are the teams, kick-off time, weather conditions, etc:
15. Percy Montgomery,14. Joe Rokocoko, 13. Rico Gear, 12. Jean de Villiers, 11. Bryan Habana, 10. Francois Steyn, 9. Fourie du Preez, 8. Schalk Burger, 7. Richie McCaw, 6. Jerry Collins, 5. Johann Muller, 4. Bakkies Botha, 3. Census Johnson, 2. John Smit (captain), 1. Federico Pucciariello.
Replacements: 16. Mark Regan, 17. Rodney Blake, 18. Chris Jack, 19. Nick Koster, 20. George Gregan, 21. Ollie Smith, 22. Shane Williams.
15. James OConnor, 14. Lote Tuqiri, 13. Ryan Cross, 12. Adam Ashley-Cooper, 11. Digby Ioane, 10. Quade Cooper, 9. Brett Sheehan, 8. Richard Brown, 7. George Smith, 6. Dean Mumm, 5. Hugh McMeniman, 4. Mark Chisholm, 3. Matt Dunning, 2. Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1. Sekope Kepu
16. Adam Freier, 17. Ben Alexander, 18. Peter Kimlin, 19. David Pocock, 20. Luke Burgess, 21. Lachie Turner, 22. Drew Mitchell
Venue: Wembley Stadium London
Kick-off: 19.45 (19.45 GMT)
Weather: It is a night game, but the prospect of rain is small. It will be cold, with a high of 2°C and a low of -3°C
Referee: Chris White (England)
Touch judges: Wayne Barnes (England), Steve Terheege (England)
TMO: Geoff Warren (England)