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Football: Ancelotti hopeful of Ronaldo leniency, Bale returns

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti is hopeful that Cristiano Ronaldo will avoid a lengthy suspension despite his sending-off in Sunday night's 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao in La Liga. The Ballon d'Or winner was shown a straight red card by referee Ayza Gamez 15 minutes from time at San Mames after a clash with Athletic defender Carlos Gurpegi.

Football: Ronaldo, Benzema fire Madrid into top spot

Real Madrid moved clear at the top of La Liga for the first time since May 2012 thanks to a 2-0 win over Granada at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo opened the scoring on 57 minutes, as set up by Luka Modric, he rifled home his 31st goal of the season. Karim Benzema sealed Los Blancos' ninth consecutive win 12 minutes from time when he slotted home Marcelo's low cross. However, it was not a great afternoon for Gareth Bale as he was on the end of a rough challenge from Jeison Murillo early on and was eventually substituted at half-time.

Football: Ronaldo honoured by Portuguese President

Cristiano Ronaldo was on Monday awarded one of the most prestigious honours in Portugal from the country's President Anibal Cavaco Silva. The Portugal captain and Real Madrid forward was awarded the Ordem do Infante Dom Henrique, the Order of Prince Henry, in the presidential palace in Lisbon. Silva paid tribute to "the extraordinary talent of Ronaldo ... who brings prestige to Portugal around the world." He congratulated Ronaldo for "his talent, discipline and the determination he has always shown ... an example for young generations."

Football: Ronaldo, Bale on target as Madrid move joint top

Real Madrid moved level on points with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 5-0 hammering of bottom-placed Real Betis on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo continued his fantastic week after lifting the Ballon d'Or on Monday with a thumping long-range drive to open the scoring before Gareth Bale silenced his recent critics with a trademark free-kick to make it 2-0. Karim Benzema then notched his 100th goal for Madrid in first-half stoppage time as he blasted home after classy play from Luka Modric.

Football: Ronaldo, Bale on target as Madrid move joint top

Real Madrid moved level on points with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 5-0 hammering of bottom-placed Real Betis on Saturday. Cristiano Ronaldo continued his fantastic week after lifting the Ballon d'Or on Monday with a thumping long-range drive to open the scoring before Gareth Bale silenced his recent critics with a trademark free-kick to make it 2-0. Karim Benzema then notched his 100th goal for Madrid in first-half stoppage time as he blasted home after classy play from Luka Modric.

Football: Ronaldo reveals Ferdinand's United request

Newly crowned Ballon d'Or-winner Cristiano Ronaldo has revealed that he was pestered to rejoin Manchester United last year by former team-mate Rio Ferdinand. Ronaldo scored 117 goals for United between 2003 and 2009 before leaving for Real Madrid and he suggested that he had contemplated returning to Old Trafford last year. "It was true that Rio spoke to me a lot," the 28-year-old told reporters following the Ballon d'Or ceremony in Zurich, in comments published by several British national newspapers on Tuesday.

Football: Spanish press hail Ronaldo's tears of joy

The front pages of Spain's newspapers were awash with images of a crying Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday after the Portuguese picked up his second Ballon d'Or in Zurich on Monday. Despite not winning a trophy on a collective level during 2013, Ronaldo was rewarded with football's highest individual accolade for his incredible performances last year. The Real Madrid man averaged more than a goal a game and also guided his country to this year's World Cup in Brazil.

Cristiano Ronaldo snatches Ballon d'Or from Messi

International Sports Desk, Jan 13 (EFE).- Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo had tears in his eyes Monday as he accepted his second Ballon d'Or as the world's best soccer player at the annual FIFA awards gala in Switzerland. The Portuguese forward won the 2008 trophy, but saw Argentine superstriker Lionel Messi - who plays for Real Madrid archrival Barcelona - grab the Ballon d'Or for the next four years running. Messi, who scored 56 goals in all competitions last year, finished second in the voting for the 2013 prize, followed by France's Franck Ribery.

Cristiano Ronaldo snatches Ballon d'Or from Messi

International Sports Desk, Jan 13 (EFE).- Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo had tears in his eyes Monday as he accepted his second Ballon d'Or as the world's best soccer player at the annual FIFA awards gala in Switzerland. The Portuguese forward won the 2008 trophy, but saw Argentine superstriker Lionel Messi - who plays for Real Madrid archrival Barcelona - grab the Ballon d'Or for the next four years running. Messi, who scored 56 goals in all competitions last year, finished second in the voting for the 2013 prize, followed by France's Franck Ribery.

Football: Ronaldo ends Messi run with second Ballon d'Or

Cristiano Ronaldo ended the four-year dominance of Lionel Messi when he was awarded the 2013 FIFA Ballon d'Or in Zurich on Monday. The tearful 28-year-old Real Madrid and Portugal star, who won the award in 2008, had been the overwhelming favourite to pip Barcelona and Argentina wonder Messi, winner the previous four years, and France's Franck Ribery, who claimed the treble with Bayern Munich in 2013. Ronaldo won with 27.99% of the votes ahead of Messi (24.72%) while Ribery was third (23.36%) according to France Football, co-organisers of the award with FIFA.
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