There was plenty of pride -- and just a hint of smugness -- in the Madrid media on Tuesday morning as Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2013 Ballon d’Or victory was celebrated.
Marca’s front cover pictured the Portuguese wiping away a tear, with the headline ‘Lloro’ -- a pun on the words ‘cried’ and ‘golden’.
AS went with ‘The Best Won’ on its cover, with a photo of Ronaldo holding the trophy and Madrid’s seven winners through history in a strip down the side of the page.
Inside AS editor Alfredo Relano wrote that Ronaldo had deserved to take the prize ahead of fellow finalists Lionel Messi and Franck Ribery.
“Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2013 Ballon d’Or, and it was fully justified,” Relano wrote. “…This has been a bad year for Messi, while Cristiano has maintained his insistence on excellence. Ribery, ‘the best of the rest’ was just third. Which is already a lot.
“But even more was Cristiano, who yesterday was sincerely emotional on receiving the prize he had worried so much about, after suffering for so many years.”
Marca took the chance to poke fun at Messi -- and his fashion sense -- in a blog on their website which hoovered up the best and worst of the twitter reaction to the ceremony.
More seriously, El Pais writer Jose Samano picked up on how Ronaldo’s moment of triumph -- with his three-year-old son accompanying him on the podium and his mother crying proudly in her seat -- had served to humanise a player who for years was seen as egotistical and unfeeling.
“With his son in tow, Cristiano left in Zurich an image to remember, the poster of an emotional hero, a mortal divinity,” Samano wrote. “Bit by bit, Cristiano has left behind the image of a capricious show-off. We now see a superstar footballer who is more and more commendable, a person who is more and more substantial.”
The Catalan press was less delighted at the result, with Mundo Deportivo maintaining some objectivity by leading with ‘Cristiano Wins’, while also finding room on its cover for Messi vowing to return stronger in 2014.
Sport was slightly more partisan, claiming ‘This time the best has not won’ on its front page.
The general feeling around Catalonia, however, seemed to be that this year Ronaldo had deserved the recognition, with Mundo Deportivo’s online poll on Tuesday morning showing a clear majority agreeing with the result.