Cristiano Ronaldo's teary reception speech coincided with the Portuguese star winning his second Ballon d'Or trophy, but the Real Madrid player may have been forced to have a little cry to himself if it wasn't for some measured voting from football's top stars.
As reported by Adam Shergold and Tom Sheen of the Daily Mail, the voting selections of Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and some of the biggest names in the game have now come to light.
The voting system provides coaches and captains of national teams with the opportunity to pick three players from FIFA's shortlist, per the organisation's official document, giving their No. 1 choice five points, three points to second and a solitary score to third.
High-profile members of the specialist media are also given the chance to vote, ensuring the winner needs a standout year to impress all three.
Ballon d'Or 2013: How Ronaldo and Messi Voted
With Ronaldo named as this season's king, let's take a look at which players impressed the former Manchester United star most throughout the last calendar year. It's worth noting a player or coach cannot pick himself in this process.
|Cristiano Ronaldo's 2013 Ballon d'Or Votes|
Unsurprisingly, Ronaldo didn't give Messi any points in the hunt for this year's prize, instead opting for Radamel Falcao in top spot. The Colombian forward enjoyed a bumper 2012-13 season with Atletico Madrid and currently has 11 goals in 18 appearances for Monaco, per WhoScored.com.
Former Tottenham star Gareth Bale—now a teammate of Ronaldo at the Bernabeu—was placed second by the man who also travelled from the Premier League to La Liga. Just behind the Welshman is Mesut Ozil, who played with Ronaldo before moving to Arsenal in the summer.
|Lionel Messi's 2013 Ballon d'or Votes|
Messi also stays close to home with his voting—extremely close to home. He gave five points to Andres Iniesta and three to Xavi, both of whom made it into the FIFA World XI, per Sky Sports:
Leo also gave Neymar a smattering of points in what looks to be a round of tactical voting from both he and Ronaldo. It is questionable as to whether both players really think Franck Ribery is outside the top three players in the world, but in the heat of competition, judgement may be slightly warped.
How Other Top Stars Voted
Of course, it wasn't just about Ronaldo and Messi at this year's gala. A plethora of footballing behemoths had the chance to influence the voting, although Ribery wasn't allowed to contribute due to the fact he isn't the French national captain.
Hugo Lloris, who does wear the armband for Didier Deschamps' side, gave Ribery top marks. Deschamps did the same and also named Ronaldo second, while both individuals left Messi out of their final three.
Interestingly, Argentinian national coach Alejandro Sabella decided to give Ronaldo a point in third place, while also strengthening Ribery's claim to the title in second. Unsurprisingly, he voted Messi in first.
Ronaldo will be happier with his international manager. Paulo Bento placed his captain in first and decided against Messi and Ribery for the other points. He provided Falcao and Arjen Robben with the nod.
Despite his reputation as an egomaniac, Zlatan Ibrahimovic voted for all of his main rivals on his ballot. Ribery topped the Paris Saint-Germain forward's tally, with Messi and Ronaldo flagging behind.
Further ashore, England national coach Roy Hodgson and captain Steven Gerrard plumped for Ronaldo. Hodgson placed Ibrahimovic in second, possibly after the Swedish striker netted the Puskas Award-winning overhead kick against his team, per FIFA's official Twitter account:
Hodgson placed Robin van Persie in third, while Gerrard chose Messi in second and Liverpool colleague Luis Suarez in third.
Other notable selections include Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari picking Ronaldo first, and Louis Van Gaal choosing Ribery.
For the full results, be sure to check this tweet from FIFA:
While some planning has certainly gone into many votes, few can argue against Ronaldo deserving this year's trophy.