'Ronaldo needs to maintain his run'

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'Ronaldo needs to maintain his run'

Legendary Pele seeks more consistency from Portuguese striker at world level

FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo must continue to maintain his exceptional high standards in order to be classed among the sport's legends, according to Brazil great Pele who compared the Portuguese to Eusebio.

Portugal and Real Madrid forward Ronaldo beat Argentine’s Lionel Messi and France’s Franck Ribery to claim the prestigious award for the second time on Monday.

“To me the last true great was (France playmaker Zinedine) Zidane. He stayed at the same very high level for at least 10 years,” Pele, who was awarded a honorary Ballon d’Or, told France Football magazine on Tuesday.

Ronaldo is on the right path, though, and reminded the three-times World Cup winner of former Portugal striker Eusebio, the top scorer at the 1966 World Cup, who died earlier this month at the age of 71.

“Today Messi and Ronaldo are above the rest. Ronaldo reminds me a bit of Eusebio, he is well bred. He has the elegance and the creativity of the great players,” Pele said.

Winning the World Cup used to have greater significance in the voting for the Ballon d’Or but the success of Ronaldo and Messi, who won the award from 2009-12, proved that was no longer true, according to the Brazilian.

“It is perhaps less important than it used to be when I was playing,” said Pele of the showpiece tournament that the duo will look to win for the first time later this year.

“I'm not saying it is not essential to win the World Cup but the Champions League now has the same considerable impact celebrity-wise.”

Ribery disappointed

Franck Ribery missed out on the 2013 Ballon d'Or accolade but said there was little more he could have done to win the award after helping Bayern Munich win five trophies in the year. Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo was voted the world's best player at a FIFA awards ceremony in Zurich on Monday night, edging out Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi who had won the award for the previous four years. 

Ribery finished third in the voting despite enjoying his best season with Bayern as they won the domestic league and cup double, the Champions League, the European Super Cup and Club World Cup.

"What more could I have done after winning all those titles," he told Bild newspaper on Tuesday.

"It does not matter if you are second or third. I am not selfish and this title is not my goal.’’

"I prefer to win everything again with Bayern this season and also win the 2014 World Cup. That is what is important," said Ribery.

"Obviously I would have liked to have won but it's alright." Bayern sports director Matthias Sammer said Ribery was the number one for him.

"It is a democratic vote and we have to recognise it but for us Franck is the best," Sammer told reporters. "He won everything and did everything towards that end. But it was others who decided." 

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