The things they said: FIFA Ballon d'Or Gala winners
“It’s amazing… I’m lost for words… I can’t describe how it feels.” These are just some of responses you might hear from major award winners. The men and women who step up to the microphone after collecting accolades at the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala are no exception, recovering their poise after the excitement of the moment to express their gratitude to the rest of the football world.
With the 2015 Ballon d’Or Gala just days away now, FIFA.com rounds up just some of the reactions from the players and coaches who have picked up awards at the glittering event over the previous five years.
2010“This is my second world player of the year award and I feel just as happy as I did the first time, if not more so. We’re going to enjoy it.” Argentina’s Lionel Messi, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.
“I’ve got a room where I put all my trophies and an area set aside for all the FIFA ones. I’ve still got more space though, and even if I didn’t I’d soon find some (laughs).” Brazil’s Marta, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
“What I want to do now is to go home, so I can celebrate with my family and savour the moment. I’m going to keep this trophy safe, because it’s part of my story and the story of those people who work with me, those who I love and who love me back. It’s something that’ll make me always keep looking for more, with the same level of motivation I’ve always had.” Portugal’s Jose Mourinho, FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year.
“It's a wonderful award, but highlights for me are always when you win something with a team – something that you can't win on your own. You always need the support of your players, the national association, your colleagues and the rest of the staff, but this means that you can reach even greater heights. As a coach, you have to have success all the time, and to achieve that it takes much more than just being a good coach” Germany’s Silvia Neid, FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year.
“I would like to thank everyone. It’s not that bad to write a bit of history like this. I am very happy about this award. It might not have been the most important goal but it was certainly the most spectacular.” Turkey’s Hamit Altintop, FIFA Puskás Award winner.
2011“I’m very proud to have won it three times, especially one after the other. It’s hard to win one, let alone three. I’m very happy and this award gives me as much pleasure as the first.” Argentina’s Lionel Messi, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.
“It was a very exciting night. It was actually when I heard the name of my international coach being announced as Women’s Coach of the Year that my legs started to shake and I began to feel very excited and nervous. And then when I heard my own name, my mind just went blank. I almost couldn’t believe it.” Japan’s Homare Sawa, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
“It’s a great source of joy. You become a footballer or coach because you love the game, to put a certain philosophy into practice and work with the players. And then, of course, events like these put football in a good light and we all need to encourage that to keep the sport growing.” Barcelona head coach Josep Guardiola, FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year.
“I am so honoured. Just being here at such an amazing event together with my family makes me feel so grateful. I'm so emotional and I'm feeling very happy. Just being here is one thing but winning this award is simply overwhelming.” Japan’s Norio Sasaki, FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year.
“I was almost in a state of shock (laughs). I'm delighted to have won the award, though, and I’m very grateful to all my team-mates for their help in what’s been a wonderful year. I’d also like to thank God and my family, friends and colleagues because they’ve helped me a lot.” Brazil’s Neymar, FIFA Puskás Award winner.
2012“It’s really nice to win it again, for a fourth consecutive time. I'm really very happy. My mind went blank and I couldn’t think of what to say. All the same, I’d like to dedicate this award to my family.” Argentina’s Lionel Messi, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.
“It's fantastic. There haven't been many times in my life where I've been completely speechless, but I'm really having trouble finding the right words. Honestly, when Hope said my name, I thought she'd made a mistake. I was sure that Alex would win.” USA’s Abby Wambach, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
“I’m proud to represent a country’s football that’s enjoying an extraordinary period, but I know that this isn’t an individual award. This award is for the work of a whole team: I’ve got a lot of people behind me.” Spain’s Vicente Del Bosque, FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year.
“I feel really to the team and am very proud of them. I’d love to give everyone an award like this, but there’s only one trophy, so I’ll keep it.” USA head coach Pia Sundhage, FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year.
“It’s a fantastic feeling as I didn’t expect to be in the top ten, never mind the final three. I want to thank the fans as well, because without their votes I wouldn’t be here. This trophy belongs to them too.” Slovakia’s Miroslav Stoch, FIFA Puskás Award winner.
2013“Finding out I’d won made me extremely happy, I felt very proud. You need to work really hard to win a trophy of this magnitude. Winning a second Ballon d’Or was what I yearned for most. I want to thank all my team-mates at Real Madrid and the national side, because you can’t win individual awards without working as a team. And the same goes to my coaches for club and country, for the trust they had in me.” Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.
“I still can’t believe it, but I’m totally calm and can’t really take it in. I think I’ll have to sleep on it for a couple of nights until it finally all hits me.” Germany’s Nadine Angerer, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
“It’s obviously a tremendous honour at the end of my career. I had almost 50 years as a player and coach, and experienced many highs, lows, successes and failures. This is the crowning glory to round it all off and I’m extremely happy.” Bayern Munich head coach Jupp Heynckes, FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year.
“It’s an incredible honour, and I really never thought it could happen. But nobody can ever succeed alone. So many people have contributed to this award.” Germany’s Silvia Neid, FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year.
“I'm delighted. It is a huge honour for me just to be here, so to go home with two trophies feels even better. As for the goal, normally it's not so important who scores, but this time it happened to be me and I think it has become a symbol of sorts because of how it came about. That thought makes me really happy. This is a day I will remember for the rest of my life.” Sweden’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic, FIFA Puskás Award winner.
2014“I’ve been here eight times now but it’s still the same. There’s always a lot of tension before the names are read out. I know how much hard work and effort goes into winning this award, and that’s why I still get emotional, no matter how many times I come here to receive it. I hope I’ll be doing so for many years to come. That’s why I have to thank my team-mates, my club Real Madrid and everyone in Portugal. This Ballon d’Or caps a great season for me and it also gives me the motivation to start 2015 with the same ambition.” Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo, FIFA Ballon d’Or winner.
I’m still completely overwhelmed by the moment; I’ve got to calm down and let it all sink in first. It might be an individual award, but I’d never have won it without the help of my team-mates.” Germany’s Nadine Kessler, FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year.
“Receiving this award after such a successful year is a huge honour for me. It’s like the icing on the cake after the World Cup.” Germany’s Joachim Low, FIFA Men’s Football Coach of the Year.
“I really am very proud, but I know it has been a joint project in which a huge number of people have played a part. Working together is the only way to achieve anything in team sport.” Germany’s Ralf Kellermann, FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year.
“I'm extremely happy to win this award, which is really a very special honour, all the more so because it was voted for by the public. I'm very grateful. It will be difficult to match that goal, but I'm going to keep trying to score more in the future.” Colombia’s James Rodriguez, FIFA Puskás Award winner.