Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo beat arch-rival Lionel Messi to claim the prestigious Ballon d'Or for the fourth time in his career. The Portuguese captain is now just one behind the Argentine, and it is the ninth consecutive year that either of the two have won the award.
Ronaldo was the favourite for the honour after he helped Real clinch an unprecedented 11th Champions League title and led unfancied Portugal to Euro 2016 glory, scoring three goals in the tournament.
Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann, who was on the losing side both in the Euro and the Champions League finals, was third.
Ronaldo previously won the French award in 2008, 2013 and 2014. Ronaldo and Messi are the only recipients of the award since 2007 when Brazilian star Kaka won while representing AC Milan.
“I never thought in my mind that I would win the Golden Ball four times. I am pleased. I feel so proud and happy,” said Ronaldo, who is in Japan for the FIFA Club World Cup.
“I have the opportunity to thank all of my team-mates, the national team, Real Madrid, all of the people and players who helped me to win this individual award.”
The former Manchester United player has been in good nick this season as well, having already scored 19 goals in 20 games so far for club and country. Last season he’d scored 54 goals combined.
Leicester City star Jamie Vardy was the highest placed Englishman on the list with 11 votes.
Video: Cristiano receiving his 4th Ballon d'Or pic.twitter.com/Bh5YAeEiHy— Real Madrid Info (@RMadridInfo) December 12, 2016
So happy and glad to win. Thanks Real Madrid and Portugal National team.amazing year. Simmmmmmm💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽💪🏽 pic.twitter.com/IQCxOA5PLg— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) December 12, 2016