The result everyone was expecting has come to pass as the Red Devils' superstar winger has been named European Footballer of the Year...
France Football has handed its prestigious Ballon d'Or award to Cristiano Ronaldo, a decision that will surprise no-one given his outstanding performances over the past 12 months.
The 23-year-old led Sir Alex Ferguson's side to the Premier League and Champions League titles last term, netting some 42 goals along the way - an incredible feat for a player who predominately plays on the right flank.
Ronaldo was a clear winner, collecting 77 votes from the 96 journalists who judge the award, while Lionel Messi of Barcelona and Liverpool's Fernando Torres filled out the placings.
It is just the latest of many individual triumphs for the former Sporting Lisbon sensation, who was dubbed player of the year by the Football Writers' Association and the Professional Footballers' Association in 2006-07. He was recently named the 2008 FIFPro World Player of the Year.
Ronaldo becomes the fourth Man United star to claim the Ballon d'Or, following in the footsteps of Denis Law (1964), Sir Bobby Charlton (1966) and George Best (1968).
It is perhaps fitting that the Real Madrid target's win marks the 40th anniversary of Best's triumph, as he has often been compared to the late, great Ulsterman.
Next up for Ronaldo is the FIFA World Player of the Year gong, which has never been won by an English-based player.
2008 Ballon d'Or Top Ten Classification
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Manchester United) - 446 points
2. Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona) - 281 pts
3. Fernando Torres (Spain/Liverpool) - 179 pts
4. Iker Casillas (Spain/Real Madrid) - 133 pts
5. Xavi Hernandez (Spain/Barcelona) - 97 pts
6. Andrei Arshavin (Russia/Zenit St. Petersburg) - 64 pts
7. David Villa (Spain/Valencia) - 55 pts
8. Kaka (Brazil/AC Milan) - 31 pts
9. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden/Inter) - 30 pts
10. Steven Gerrard (England/Liverpool) - 28 pts
Mike Maguire, Goal.com
DOWN MEMORY LANE WITH MOHAMMED ‘BREE’ BULBULIA
It’s a pity that Tour did not take place because the ANC were opposed to that Tour. The South African public were denied the opportunity to see greats such as Sobers-Worrell-Kanhai- Collie Smith- Ramadhin-Alf Valentine and many others.
If that Tour had materialized it would have put the South African Non-White cricketers on the world map.
‘Bree’ singled out Basil D’Oliveira as the greatest batsman produced by South Africa. He also said that 8 Non- White cricketers would have walked into a fully representative South African Team if it was selected on merit. He named Basil D’Oliveira, Tiny Abed, Lobo Abed[a better wicket- keeper than John Waite in his prime] Owen Williams till now South Africa have not produced a left-arm spinner like him, Cecil Abrahams, Cootie Neethling Frank Roro, Eric Petersen, Mac Anthony, Freedman and Basil Waterwich as really top class cricketers.
‘How good was Mac Anthony?’ he said that Eric Rowan described Mac Anthony as a machine, he also said that in the 1951 Tournament played in Cape Town, Transvaal scored 146 and Natal were 94/8, a partnership then developed till the score reached 144 then Mac bowled Tvl to victory by 2 runs. (‘Bree’ was manager of Tvl in 1951)
‘How good was Issy Maal?’ he said that Maal was a terrific batsman. When a match was played at the Fietas grounds on the centre pitch Maal had hit many bowlers right into the cemetery on many occasions.
‘How good was Taliep Sallie?’ he said that when England Toured here, Wally Hammond was a top-class batsman and yet Taliep Sallie bowled Hammond out a few times in the nets. He said that Sallie was a very good all- rounder.
‘Bree’ had high praise for Links Padyachie – he said Links had the deadliest left foot and was the finest footballer produced in this country. He also said that David Samaai as a tennis player was very good and would have reached the top if it was not for apartheid.
In golf Papwa beat Gary Player in a Tournament in Durban and Papwa received his trophy in the rain because of the color of his skin.
‘How good was Sir Donald Bradman?’ he said that Bradman’s performances and average spoke for themselves, I did not see him bat, but he was hot and the most prominent in the news from the late 1920’s until his retirement from cricket in 1948.
‘Who’s the greatest batsman you saw in action?’ he said that he saw Garry Sobers at Manchester in 1966 in the 1st Test, Sobers came to the wicket an over before tea, England had just taken the new ball and at the close of play, Sobers was 87*, it was just merciless slaughter. Sobers was the greatest that I had seen up to this day.
Who would you choose between Lara and Tendulker?’- Brian Lara gets my nod because he is such a joy to watch when he is in full flow.
‘How good is Jacques Kallis?’------- Kallis has a good average but he is very dour at the crease and seems to be playing for his own averages.
‘Did South Africa have any good batsman in the apartheid days?’------- Dudley Nourse and Bruce Mitchell and then Graeme Pollock came along.
‘How was life in the apartheid days?’------ I was invited to a function as a businessman, but because of the color of my skin, I was told not to come to the function by Sidney Bloch who was the MD of the Ackermans Group at that time. After he found out that I was a Non- White he did not want my presence at the opening of the new Belfast Store in Pretoria ( that was life and many other instances were experienced as Non-Whites).
‘Bree’ also said that cricketers from Transvaal that deserved to be mentioned as fine players were Amien Variawa- Tiefie Barnes- Hashim Rasdien- Hashim Abrahams- Mohammed ‘Round The Mountain’ Garda- Jimmy Bulbulia was a very good captain and when took over from Dawood Chota in that 1951 clash against Natal when Mac Anthony bowled Tvl to victory, Jimmy was a very inspirational as leader.
Are va..theres no qvestion who dis weeks MUGG of veek is. I dont vant to overshadow his avard. But for that handball. Vat vas he tinking. Vat vas he tinking. Some say, da he heard da whistle. But vat vas he tinkin.I cant disucss this ..I can only laugh..ha ha ha.
The HAND OF DA DOG. I like lity. Saleem Bha doesnt. But for dat stupid action...He is da MUGG OF DA VEEK.