Sir Alex Ferguson has today spoken of his pride in Cristiano Ronaldo for winning the Ballon d’Or. To think that just as we missed out on having Ruud van Nistelrooy playing in a United shirt when scoring the goal to make him the highest ever scorer in the Champions League, we could have missed out on this moment with Ronaldo had he too signed for Real Madrid.

Instead, Ronaldo becomes our fourth player to win the prize, meaning just five clubs in Europe have more winners than us.

With the likes of Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Roy Keane, Ryan Giggs, to name a few, always missing out on the award, Ferguson believes this winner has been a long time coming, some 40 years after George Best won it following our European Cup win in 1968.

“We are very proud,” said Ferguson. “Manchester United had been waiting for this for 40 years. Cristiano is in the tradition of our three other Ballons d’Or. His award is beyond all possible dispute. He is only 23 years old. His best years are ahead of him. In life, you have two categories of people. Those who reach their goal and go to bed saying to themselves, ‘I made it’ and the other ones, who are driven by will, desire. These ones, when they win the trophy, they say to themselves ‘I go on’… Ronaldo has that sparkle in himself.”

After Ronaldo won the trophy he claimed he was not surprised, but vowed to become and even better player.

“Great emotion fills me but I cannot really describe it,” he said. “I want to thank those who voted for me, those who know me and those who live with me. I was not worried, because I was aware of what I did in the course of the season. But to the people who mentioned my name, I say thank you. Thank you also to my team-mates. This (trophy) is one that I want to win again because it is so good. Therefore, I will wake and I will say to myself, ‘I want to be even better’.”