Madrid stars pay tribute to top dog Ronaldo

Ronaldo polled 37.66 per cent of the vote from national team coaches, captains and media with Barcelona's Lionel Messi second (15.76 per cent) and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer third (15.72 per cent).

It is the second successive year Ronaldo has collected the award and caps a memorable 2014 that saw him saw him inspire Real to their 10th UEFA Champions League title, and break the record the number of goals in the competition in a single season – scoring 17.

Ancelotti hailed Ronaldo as one of the best players he has worked with during his career, likening the Portugal captain to French legend Zinedine Zidane.

"I've always said that Zinedine Zidane was the player I most enjoyed watching in training, because of the things he did," he said. "And Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the players I most enjoy watching on the pitch. 

"He's a perfectionist and he has an awful lot of talent, but he works very hard to polish that talent and improve the many attributes that he possesses."

Team-mates Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Iker Casillas and Alvaro Arbeloa echoed the comments of their head coach, heaping praise on Ronaldo for a fantastic calendar year.

Kroos tweeted: "Congratulations @Cristiano for the #BallondOr! And compliments to @Manuel_Neuer! I'm happy to play with you @realmadrid and @DFB_Team!"

While Bale added: "Congratulations @Cristiano , well deserved. 3 times ballon d'or winner, great achievement. #3times"

Goalkeeper Casillas - who voted for Ronaldo with his top pick as Spain captain - felt the awarding of the trophy to his team-mate was well deserved, while Arbeloa tweeted his pride at playing alongside the 29-year-old.

"Congratulations @Cristiano by the #BallondOr, recognition to a great year," Casillas posted, with Arbeloa adding: "Doing great this shirt [the Real Madrid shirt]. Proud to share with you."

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