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Cristiano Ronaldo wins European Player of the Year award

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has been named Europe's best player of the year, winning the prize for the second time. The Portuguese striker had a poor World Cup but performed well in last season's Champions League.

Cristiano Ronaldo of Champions League winners Real Madrid was Thursday named European Player of the Year by a panel of journalists, defeating Bayern Munich duo Manuel Neuer and Arjen Robben for the prestigious award.

Ronaldo, 29, scored a penalty in Real's 4-1

extra-time win over Atletico Madrid

in the Champions League final in May. That gave him 17 goals in 11 European games.

Unfit and over-played Ronaldo had a disappointing World Cup in Brazil

as Portugal were eliminated in the group stage.

But, his performances on the European stage were still enough to convince the jury.

Speaking at the ceremony in Monaco after receiving the award, Ronaldo said he would never have been able to win the prize on his own: "I'm really, really happy. I have to say thank you to my teammates, to my family, my friends. I don't have this trophy in my museum. I'll put it there straight away."

It is the second time Ronaldo has been named best player in Europe, having won the earlier version of the award in 2008, when playing for Manchester United.

On the women's side of the competition, German player Nadine Kessler won UEFA's Best Women's Player in Europe Award. The 26-year-old Wolfsburg captain won the Women's Champions League this year with her club, and the German women's championship too.

al/glb (AFP, dpa)

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