Ronaldo win Ballon d'Or

MANCHESTER (AFP) - Cristiano Ronaldo believes winning the Ballon d'Or will only increase his drive to improve on the level of performance that earned him one of football's biggest individual prizes.

Ronaldo beat Barcelona's Lionel Messi and Liverpool striker Fernando Torres to the honour on the back of a phenomenal 2007-08 season in which he scored 42 goals for his Premier League and Champions League-winning club.

The 23-year-old dismissed suggestions that achieving one of his lifetime ambitions so early in his career would lead to him becoming complacent or increase the pressure on him to perform at the highest level every time he appears.

"I always play with pressure because people always expect a lot from me and I don't think that will change," Ronaldo told United's website,

"Winning this award makes me feel very happy inside because it's one of the best days of my life.

"But my responsibilities are still the same; I want to continue to play well for my club and my country and try to do as well as last season.

"Of course I can improve - there are many things I still need to learn.

"You can never let yourself think you know everything. I am still very ambitious and I will continue to work very hard every day. I know it will be very hard to better last season, but I will try - if you don't try you win nothing. A new season means a new challenge and I want to help the team win more trophies."

Ronaldo becomes the first United player to win the award since the late George Best in 1968. Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton were also honoured in the 60s and the Portuguese winger was proud to follow in the footsteps of three of Old Trafford's all-time greats.

"It's amazing that only four players in the club's history have won it, I didn't know that until yesterday," Ronaldo said.

"So it's special for the club and obviously for me and I feel very proud to be part of the history of the Ballon D'Or and the history of this club. You work hard to win team awards and personal awards, but to win this one is very special."

Barcelona captain Carlos Puyol congratulated Ronaldo, but insisted he would have plumped for Messi, judging the latter a better player.

"I think that the best player in the world in Leo Messi, and I say it because I see him play every day and I have never seen anything like it. Sooner or later, Messi will win the Ballon d'Or," Puyol said, according to Barcelona's website late


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