Cristiano Ronaldo has upstaged arch-rival Lionel Messi to the title of World’s Best Footballer after a wonderful year filled with victories for Real Madrid and Portugal.
The award becomes Ronaldo‘s fourth Ballon d’Or, just one less than a record five wins held by the Barcelona star.
CR7 won the 2016 European Championships as a captain for Portugal after making meaningful contributions on and off the pitch. The trophy was his first major international silverware.
The Madrid star also netted a winner for his club on their way to winning the UEFA Champions League in May, 2016. Ronaldo’s goal ended Atletico Madrid‘s dream of exerting revenge after their 2014 loss to the same team.
While football fans around the world celebrate with CR7, the Portuguese star is currently in Japan, taking part in his club’s FIFA Club World Cup. He was unable to attend the Ballon d’Or party held in Paris, France.
Image: Cristiano Ronaldo
Messi won the individual award in 2015 after helping Barca beat Madrid to last year’s La Liga with just one point.
However, Zinedine Zidane’s squad are current leaders on the league table, having consolidated their six-point lead after beating Deportivo La Coruna last weekend in a nerve-wrecking 3-2 victory.
Ronaldo spoke with L’Equipe TV in an interview after the FIFA announcement, according to a report from Mundo Deportivo. He expressed gratitude for the fourth Ballon d’Or which he described as “a dream come true”.
In his words: “Thank you very much. For me it is a great honor to receive my fourth Golden Ball. I am as excited as the first, it is a new dream that has come true.
“I would never have imagined in my life that I would take four Golden Balls. I am very happy,” he added. ” I want to savor the moment because it is not easy to win. “
A report from CNN quotes an excited Ronaldo as saying in another pre-recorded interview: “For me it’s an unbelievable moment, I’m so proud, so happy.
“Thank you to everyone who voted for me. Thank you to my teammates … Portugal national team, and this trophy’s for Real Madrid.”
LIST OF 2016 BALLON D’OR NOMINEES AND NUMBER OF VOTES RECEIVED:
1. Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 745 votes
2. Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona) 316
3. Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid) 198
4. Luis Suarez (FC Barcelona) 91
5. Neymar (FC Barcelona) 68
6. Gareth Bale (Real Madrid) 60
7. Riyad Mahrez (Leicester) 20
8. Jamie Vardy (Leicester) 11
9/10. Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus) & Pepe (Real Madrid) 8
11. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund) 7
12. Rui Patricio (Sporting CP) 6
13. Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) 5
14/15. Paul Pogba (Manchester United) & Arturo Vidal (Bayern Munich) 4
16. Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) 3
17. Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/, Luka Modric (Real Madrid) & Dimitri Payet (West Ham) 1
No votes: Agüero, De Bruyne, Dybala, Godin, Higuain, Iniesta, Koke, Lloris, Müller, Neuer, Sergio Ramos.
Meanwhile, the disappointing result with Argentina during last June’s Copa America finals against Chile, could be one reason why Messi missed this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Ronaldo won his first of this award in 2008 followed by another one in 2013 and 2014.
Both CR7 and Messi have shared the coveted trophy between themselves since Kaka won it in 2007.
The shortlisted three players – Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann, will receive prizes from FIFA in a ceremony which has been scheduled to hold on 9 January in Zurich, Switzerland.
Griezmann was EURO 2016’s highest goal scorer with 6 goals before France lost to Portugal in the finals.