Cristiano Ronaldo picked up his third Ballon d'Or at Monday's gala in Zurich, Switzerland, beating out Lionel Messi and Manuel Neuer for world football's most prestigious international award.
According to beIN Sports the Real Madrid talisman captured nearly 38 percent of the votes, cast by national team captains and managers as well as a selection of the international media—more than double the share garnered by Messi (15.76 percent) and Neuer (15.72 percent), respectively.
With his 56 goals for the Primera Division giants in 2014, to go along with 21 assists, the Portugal captain was always the favourite to claim the prize and his triumph, in hindsight, was as much deserving as it was predictable.
Messi, who found the back of the net with regularity for Barcelona in the last calendar year, also helped Argentina to the 2014 World Cup final, where he and his international teammates lost to Germany and sweeper-keeper Neuer, who had done a domestic double with Bayern Munich a matter of months before.
That both players were among the finalists for the Ballon d'Or was surely defensible; that neither won it was justice, plain and simple.
Ronaldo has been at another level these last few seasons, and the fact that in 2013 he regained the trophy after a five-year drought speaks not only to his ability, but also to his dedication to constantly improving. (The Brazilian Ronaldo is the only other player to have gone as long between Ballon d'Or victories.)
But as much as the 29-year-old's achievement was deserving, David Luiz' inclusion in the FIFA/FIFPro World XI was nonsensical.
The Brazil defender, along with Paris Saint-Germain teammate Thiago Silva, was named to the all-star team's back four, which also included former Germany captain Philipp Lahm and Real Madrid stalwart Sergio Ramos.
But Luiz, who was let go by Chelsea after an error-filled 2013-14 campaign, had a mostly forgettable World Cup in which he was caught out time and again by Germany in the semi-finals—a match Brazil lost 7-1 in Belo Horizonte.
Atletico Madrid's Diego Godin, who scored the Primera Division-winning goal against Barcelona, would have been a far better choice, but the players who voted on the XI seemed to prefer profile to performance. Perhaps the balloting procedure requires a rethink.
Not so that of the FIFA Women's World Player of the Year.
Nadine Kessler, who pipped Brazil's Marta and the United States' Abby Wambach to the gong, won both the league and Champions League with Wolfsburg in 2013-14—a year after being part of the side that took Germany to UEFA Women's Championship glory.
Like Ronaldo, the 26-year-old was worthy of her moment in the spotlight, and in her victory speech, as per Goal's Ben Hayward, she did well to acknowledge the recent passing of Wolfsburg men's player Junior Malanda, who died in a car accident over the weekend.
Wolfsburg ladies' manager Ralf Kellermann was honoured for his role in his side's recent success with the Women's Coach of the Year award, and Germany men's boss Joachim Low completed a good night for German coaching by scooping the corresponding prize.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid and Colombia playmaker James Rodriguez took home the Puskas Award, which recognises the best goal scored in world football, for his stunner against Uruguay at the World Cup. And Japanese journalist Hiroshi Kagawa was presented the Presidential Award for a life dedicated to growing football in his country.
Ballon d'Or: Cristiano Ronaldo
Women's World Player of the Year: Nadine Kessler
Men's Coach of the Year: Joachim Low
Women's Coach of the Year: Ralf Kellermann
Puskas Award: James Rodriguez
Presidential Award: Hiroshi Kagawa
Fair Play Award: FIFA tournament volunteers