Cristiano Ronaldo's Route to Ballon d'Or Glory: Game-by-Game Breakdown

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2014

Cristiano Ronaldo's Route to Ballon d'Or Glory: Game-by-Game Breakdown

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Cristiano Ronaldo has done it—he's displaced Lionel Messi as the Ballon d'Or holder, winning his second title after a gap of five years.

    Having won second place in both 2011 and 2012, the Real Madrid and Portugal wide forward put in a consistent calendar year's worth of stellar performances, winning game after game for both club and country on the back of his remarkable goalscoring feats.

    Here's a complete game-by-game breakdown of Ronaldo's entire 2013 year, culminating in his prestigious award.

     

    Match statistics taken from Squawka.

January 2013: Liga vs. Real Sociedad

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    Ronaldo kicked off the year by hitting a brace in a 4-3 home win over Real Sociedad.

    The scores were locked at 2-2 before he took over in the second half, including a ferocious, dipping free-kick from an acute angle.

    5/7 take-ons

    14 shots

    2 goals

    70% pass success

Copa Del Rey vs. Celta Vigo

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    Real Madrid trailed Celta Vigo 2-1 after the first leg of the Copa del Rey round of 16 tie, meaning a win was vital to stay in the competition.

    Cristiano Ronaldo hit a hat-trick as Real blitzed Celta 4-0, triumphing 5-2 on aggregate.

Copa Del Rey vs. Valencia

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    The only games during January that Ronaldo didn't manage to score in came in the Copa del Rey.

    He started for Real against Valencia in the quarter-final first leg, with his team winning 2-0.

Liga vs. Valencia

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    Then it was Valencia again—this time in La Liga.

    Real ripped apart their rivals with a 5-0 win, Ronaldo this time hitting two goals.

    2/2 take-ons

    3 shots

    2 goals

    65% pass success

Copa Del Rey vs. Valencia

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    Familiar opposition?

    Yes, for a third game in a row, Ronaldo faced off against Valencia in the second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final, with a 1-1 draw this time the scoreline.

    No goal for Ronaldo at the Mestalla, but he helped see his team through to the semi-finals.

Liga vs. Getafe

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    The final league game of January saw Real at home to Getafe. A routine 4-0 thumping ensued—and Ronaldo hit his first La Liga hat-trick of 2013 in the process.

    It was a perfect treble, too—left foot, header, right foot.

    2/3 take-ons

    7 shots

    3 goals

    84% pass success

Copa Del Rey vs. Barcelona

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Back to the Copa del Rey, Real faced arch rivals Barcelona in the semis.

    The first leg, played at the Santiago Bernabeu, finished 1-1, with Ronaldo captaining the home side.

    He didn't score...this time.

February 2013: Liga vs. Granada

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    Real found it tough going when travelling to Andalucia during 2012-13 and the visit to Granada proved no different.

    This was, however, the final league defeat of the season for the Madrid club as they lost 1-0—yet Ronaldo still managed to get on the scoresheet. Unfortunately for the Portuguese forward, it was at the wrong end this time.

    1/3 take-ons

    8 shots

    0 goals

    81% pass success

International Friendly vs. Ecuador

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    Ronaldo was on international duty next as Portugal faced South American nation Ecuador in a friendly.

    His side lost 3-2, but that didn't stop him scoring a fantastic individual goal, showing close control, invention and his trademark unerring finish in the process.

Liga vs. Sevilla

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    Ronaldo got back to club football for Real's league game against Sevilla—where another hat-trick duly followed.

    Real triumphed 4-1 at home with the No. 7 a key performer once again. His first goal was perhaps the most spectacular, a long-range strike on his left foot.

    2/4 take-ons

    8 shots

    3 goals

    77% pass success

Champions League vs. Manchester United

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    It was back to Manchester United in the Champions League next up, as Ronaldo scored against his old club in a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the round of 16.

    His goal wasn't enough to give his side a lead after the home leg, but it did spark a sequence of scoring in six Champions League matches in a row.

Liga vs. Rayo Vallecano

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    No goals came against Rayo Vallecano, but Ronaldo did manage to be a creative force by setting up five chances for his team-mates during the game.

    Even without him on the scoresheet, Real ran out 2-0 winners on the day.

    2/4 take-ons

    2 shots

    0 goals

    80% pass success

Liga vs. Deportivo La Coruna

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    In the midst of his own little mini-drought, Ronaldo played the second of three consecutive league games without scoring against Depor.

    In fairness, he only came on as sub for half an hour here—and still claimed an assist as Real won 2-1.

    3/5 take-ons

    4 shots

    0 goals

    64% pass success

Copa Del Rey vs. Barcelona

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    Having enjoyed an hour or so rest in the previous game, Ronaldo was next up against Barcelona again in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final.

    He put in a stunning performance, scored twice and almost single-handedly sent his team to the final in a 3-1 win.

March 2013: Liga vs. Barcelona

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    A few days later it was the same opposition, this time in La Liga, as Real looked to close the gap to the table-toppers.

    Ronaldo didn't score this time but came off the bench to help his side record a 2-1 win.

    0/1 take-ons

    6 shots

    0 goals

    75% pass success

Champions League vs. Manchester United

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    The Champions League second leg saw Ronaldo score once more against his old side Manchester United.

    Real won 2-1 at Old Trafford, with Ronaldo's goal the tie-winning strike, 20 minutes from the end, to send the Red Devils out after a contentious red card occurred earlier in the game.

Liga vs. Celta Vigo

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    Back to league action, Ronaldo ended his three-match goalless run in the competition with a brace at Celta Vigo.

    He scored both goals in a 2-1 win, a close-range finish and a penalty.

    0/0 take-ons

    7 shots

    2 goals

    76% pass success

Liga vs. Mallorca

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    Next up was relegation-threatened Mallorca, where Ronaldo enjoyed a field day in terms of getting shots away—but wasn't at his most accurate.

    Even so, he scored another towering header in an eventual 5-2 win, with his goal the second equaliser for Real.

    2/2 take-ons

    11 shots

    1 goal

    68% pass success

World Cup Qualifier vs. Israel

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    Then it was back to international duty and an important World Cup qualifier.

    Ronaldo couldn't help his team to victory this time, but they did hold off the challenge of Israel to draw 3-3 away from home.

    The No. 7 claimed one assist.

Liga vs. Real Zaragoza

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    The final game in March saw Ronaldo score another one, this time at Real Zaragoza.

    He netted the equaliser in a 1-1 draw, squeezing his shot in at the near post after the home side had taken an early lead.

    1/5 take-ons

    5 shots

    1 goal

    79% pass success

April 2013: Champions League vs. Galatasaray

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    Early April saw Real return to Champions League action with a quarter-final match against Turkish side Galatasaray.

    Real ran out 3-0 winners in the first leg at home, with Ronaldo netting a coolly finished chip to open the scoring early on.

Liga vs. Levante

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    Next up in the league was Levante, with Ronaldo coming on at half-time to score one in a 5-1 rout.

    His started a late flurry which saw the game go from 2-1 to 5-1 in the final six minutes or so.

    3/5 take-ons

    4 shots

    1 goal

    84% pass success

Champions League vs. Galatasaray

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    The second leg of the Champions League quarter-final proved rather closer than most were expecting after Real's easy first-leg win—but Ronaldo ultimately proved good enough to settle the tie.

    He scored twice on the night to ensure Real progressed to the semis despite a 3-2 defeat—a 5-3 triumph on aggregate.

Liga vs. Athletic Bilbao

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    Back to league action, Real Madrid's final match at the old San Mames stadium ended in a 3-0 win over Athletic Bilbao.

    Ronaldo scored twice, a fifth league game in a row where he had found the net. His first goal came after just two minutes before he doubled the lead after the hour mark.

    2/3 take-ons

    6 shots

    2 goals

    64% pass success

Liga vs. Real Betis

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    Ronaldo's run of goals in the league dried up against Real Betis—not for lack of trying to hit the target—but he still managed to provide a telling contribution in the form of an assist for Karim Benzema.

    Real Madrid won the game 3-1 as the league season began its final stretch.

    6/10 take-ons

    7 shots

    0 goals

    71% pass success

Champions League vs. Borussia Dortmund

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    Into the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League, Real Madrid travelled to Borussia Dortmund for the first leg.

    Ronaldo finished a beautiful lob to make the score 1-1 and score a vital away goal—but the Germans took control to blitz Real, 4-1, by the end of the night.

Champions League vs. Borussia Dortmund

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Having been rested for the league match (against Atletico Madridin between semi-final legs, Ronaldo's next game was also against Dortmund.

    The Portuguese flyer didn't score in a 2-0 win, with the late goals not enough to win a place in the final. Real lost 4-3 on aggregate.

May 2013: Liga vs. Real Valladolid

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    Back to league action, Ronaldo powered in another two headers against Valladolid in a back-and-forth 4-3 win for Real Madrid.

    His first goal put Real ahead after they initially trailed 1-0, while his second proved the ultimate match-winner.

    2/2 take-ons

    7 shots

    2 goals

    73% pass success

Liga vs. Malaga

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    Ronaldo's final league goal of the season came in his penultimate match, against Malaga.

    The match ended 6-2, with Ronaldo's ferocious close-range free-kick coming just five minutes after he'd missed a penalty. He also claimed two assists in the same game.

    2/2 take-ons

    9 shots

    1 goal

    67% pass success

Liga vs. Espanyol

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    The final game of the league season in which Ronaldo featured was the 1-1 draw at Espanyol.

    He did not score in this match, playing around half an hour as sub, ending the season with 34 league goals in 34 league appearances.

    Ronaldo did not feature in the final two league games, against Real Sociedad and Osasuna.

    0/0 take-ons

    3 shots

    0 goals

    78% pass success

Copa Del Rey vs. Atletico Madrid

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    Ronaldo's final game of the 2012-13 season was the final of the Copa del Rey which saw Real Madrid play city rivals Atletico Madrid.

    It started well for Ronaldo as he scored the game's opening goal, but an equaliser for Atleti before half-time sent the game into extra time.

    Atletico then took the lead before things got worse for Ronaldo—sent off with a straight red card for a kick out at Gabi with five minutes of the match left. Atleti won the Copa del Rey, 2-1.

June: World Cup Qualifier vs. Russia

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    Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

    Right at the beginning of summer, early June, in fact, Ronaldo had two international games to contend with.

    The first was a vital World Cup qualifier for Portugal against Russia, which his nation won 1-0. Ronaldo did not score in this game.

International Friendly vs. Croatia

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    One final game of the season remained at international level, a friendly against Croatia.

    Ronaldo scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.

August: International Friendly vs. Holland

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    The start of the 2013-14 season saw Ronaldo kick off with another international goal, this time in a friendly against Holland.

    He scored the late equaliser in a 1-1 draw.

Liga vs. Real Betis

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    Real Betis were the first opponents of the season for Real Madrid and were duly dispatched, 2-1.

    Ronaldo started the season with an eye-catchingly determined display to find the net, but he was thwarted in this instance.

    1/2 take-ons

    11 shots

    0 goals

    68% pass success

Liga vs. Granada

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Two games into the new season and Ronaldo still hadn't scored, sparking a few hilariously premature reports that he was set for a poorer season.

    Suffice to say, he's only failed to score in three more league games since this one and claimed assists in two of those. He claimed a match-winning one here in a 1-0 win, too.

    4/8 take-ons

    9 shots

    0 goals

    91% pass success

September: Liga vs. Athletic Bilbao

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    Ronaldo's first league goal of the new season came against Athletic Bilbao in a 3-1 win.

    Leaving him unmarked for a free header from close range is arguably not the best way to try and prolong his scoreless run.

    4/6 take-ons

    7 shots

    1 goal

    81% pass success

World Cup Qualifier vs. Northern Ireland

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    Ronaldo's first hat-trick of the new season came in a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland.

    He hit a treble in the 4-2 win, with two headers and a deflected free-kick sealing the points for his nation.

Liga vs. Villarreal

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    Back to league action, Ronaldo hit another goal in a fantastic match against Villarreal.

    Though he put Real ahead in the second half, his team couldn't hold on and drew 2-2 in the end. This was the first game in which both Gareth Bale and Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid.

    1/1 take-ons

    8 shots

    1 goal

    77% pass success

Champions League vs. Galatasaray

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    Ronaldo made a sparkling start to Champions League life for the 2013-14 season with an away hat-trick at Galatasaray.

    Real wrapped up a massive 6-1 win against the Turkish side.

Liga vs. Getafe

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    A spectacular performance followed against Getafe.

    Ronaldo scored two and made two more in a 4-1 win, including an audacious back-heeled goal from the edge of the six-yard box.

    1/4 take-ons

    13 shots

    2 goals

    82% pass success

Liga vs. Elche

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    Elche were next in the firing line as Ronaldo scored twice more, both goals in a 2-1 victory.

    Another free-kick found the back of the net via his right boot before each side scored a late goal in the dying stages.

    2/4 take-ons

    7 shots

    2 goals

    72% pass success

Liga vs. Atletico Madrid

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Real suffered their first league defeat of the season in the home derby against Atletico Madrid.

    A 1-0 scoreline inevitably meant that Ronaldo failed to find the net this time—Real have been chasing their city rivals in the league table ever since.

    1/2 take-ons

    5 shots

    0 goals

    63% pass success

October: Champions League vs. Copenhagen

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Ronaldo made it five goals in two Champions League matches with a brace against Danish side Copenhagen.

    Real won 4-0 in a routine win, taking charge of their group in the process.

    0/0 take-ons

    7 shots

    2 goals

    85% pass success

Liga vs. Levante

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    In the league it was back to winning ways with a 3-2 victory over Levante.

    Ronaldo also found the back of the net again, scoring a late, late winner to complete a turnaround after Real had equalised for 2-2 just as the game entered stoppage time.

    1/1 take-ons

    9 shots

    1 goal

    80% pass success

World Cup Qualifier vs. Israel

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    Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

    A home draw with Israel sealed Portugal's spot in the top two of their World Cup qualifying group, giving them a place in the play-off stage.

    Ronaldo did not score in the 1-1 draw.

Liga vs. Malaga

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Back to domestic action, Ronaldo hit another stoppage-time goal in the next game against Malaga.

    This one was rather less dramatic as it put the seal on a 2-0 home win, but the penalty was expertly dispatched nonetheless.

    2/5 take-ons

    6 shots

    1 goal

    76% pass success

Champions League vs. Juventus

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    In a crucial Champions League match against Italian champions Juventus, Real came out on top thanks to their main man once again.

    Ronaldo hit both goals in a 2-1 home win, really leaving Real in the driving seat to qualify top of the group.

    4/6 take-ons

    4 shots

    2 goals

    94% pass success

Liga vs. Barcelona

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    Real Madrid's second defeat of the season came against league leaders Barcelona, who won 2-1 in the Camp Nou against Ronaldo's side.

    Though he didn't score, the No. 7 did add the assist for his team, setting up Jese for the late consolation strike.

    3/4 take-ons

    1 shot

    0 goals

    85% pass success

     

Liga vs. Sevilla

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    Ronaldo had to wait until late October for his first La Liga hat-trick of the 2013-14 season, but the game was worth waiting for.

    A stonking match saw Real beat Sevilla 7-3 in Madrid, with Ronaldo hitting the third, fifth and sixth goals for his side.

    0/1 take-ons

    6 shots

    3 goals

    66% pass success

November: Liga vs. Rayo Vallecano

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    Another game, another brace.

    Real won 3-2 largely thanks to Ronaldo's efforts as he scored twice more, the first and third goals, at Rayo Vallecano at the start of November.

    1/1 take-ons

    8 shots

    2 goals

    63% pass success

Champions League vs. Juventus

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    Then it was back to the Champions League and the return fixture in Turin against Juventus.

    Real pulled out a 2-2 draw in Italy, with Ronaldo bagging one goal and assisting the other. Yet again, he proved the big man for the Champions League when it mattered.

    3/7 take-ons

    7 shots

    1 goal

    81% pass success

Liga vs. Real Sociedad

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    Back to La Liga, Ronaldo was absolutely flying at this point and smacked another hat-trick against Real Sociedad.

    That gave him eight goals in his last three league games alone—nine in four in all competitions.

    Real won the match 5-1.

    0/1 take-ons

    8 shots

    3 goals

    85% pass success

World Cup Qualifier Play-off vs. Sweden

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    Next up came two games which may come to define Ronaldo's year entirely: the World Cup qualifying play-offs for Portugal against Sweden.

    The first leg finished 1-0 to Portugal—Ronaldo scored the goal.

World Cup Qualifier Play-off vs. Sweden

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    The second leg, though, was pure fantasy football: Zlatan Ibrahimovic vs. Cristiano Ronaldo, and a place at the World Cup finals for the victor.

    Five goals went in during the match—those two scored all five of them. But it was Ronaldo, of course, who won out, hitting a hat-trick on the night and sending his nation to the finals in Brazil, 3-2 in the game and 4-2 on aggregate.

Liga vs. Almeria

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    Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

    After that incredible high came a return to La Liga and a game at Almeria; Ronaldo continued his scoring streak with another strike in the 5-0 win for Real Madrid.

    Since not scoring against Barcelona, that meant his scoring run stood at 14 goals in his last seven games for club and country.

    That was to be the end of that particular run as he was forced off during the game with a muscle injury.

    3/4 take-ons

    8 shots

    1 goal

    96% pass success

December: Champions League vs. Copenhagen

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    Denis Doyle/Getty Images

    The final Champions League group stage match for Real Madrid saw them travel to Denmark to face Copenhagen.

    A routine 2-0 win ensued, with Ronaldo scoring his ninth group stage goal in just five appearances.

    1/5 take-ons

    8 shots

    1 goal

    89% pass success

Liga vs. Osasuna

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    Then came a bit of a slip-up for Real Madrid as they were held 2-2 by Osasuna.

    Ronaldo still managed to provide an assist—his fourth of the campaign—even though he didn't hit the back of the net himself, despite a number of attempts on goal.

    2/5 take-ons

    9 shots

    0 goals

    87% pass success

Liga vs. Valencia

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    And so to Cristiano Ronaldo's final game of 2013, an away league game at Valencia.

    Real Madrid got back to winning ways with a 3-2 win, with Ronaldo once more finding the back of the net, his 18th La Liga goal in only 16 appearances this season.

    He's already added further to that tally since the turn of the calendar year and the resumption of La Liga—but his 2013 was most certainly one to remember as he now sets out to equal or better it.

    Cristiano Ronaldo: Ballon d'Or winner, 2013.

    5/8 take-ons

    3 shots

    1 goal

    91% pass success