Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo beat his archrival Lionel Messi to win the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for a fourth time in his career.
Christiano Ronaldo Ballon D’or 2016 Winner
The 31-year-old is now one behind Barcelona’s superstar Lionel Messi, who took the honour for a fifth time last year.
Atletico Madrid’s French striker Antoine Griezmann finished third in the vote. Ronaldo had a phenomenal year as he helped Real Madrid to win last season’s UEFA Champions League and he also netted three goals as Portugal national team won Euro 2016.
Christiano has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016, with the Argentine Lionel Messi is the only other recipient of the award since winning it for the first time in 2009.
“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.
“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 scored 19 goals in 20 games for club and country this term, to add to the 54 he got last season.
Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale finished sixth in the vote, while the Premier League champion’s Leicester City speedster forward Jamie Vardy – the only Englishman included on the 30-player shortlist – was eighth.
The Ballon d’Or is voted for by 173 journalists from around the world.
It has been awarded by France Football magazine every year since 1956, but for the past six years it became the FIFA Ballon d’Or in association with world football’s governing body and was awarded to the world’s best player.
However, FIFA ended its association with the award in September.
FIFA will hand out its own prize for the world’s best men’s player, along with the best women’s player and team of the year, at the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in Zurich on 9 January.
Below you can watch the video from the mini-ceremony where Ronaldo was awarded his prize.