Cristiano Ronaldo capped off his sensational year by taking the Ballon d’Or prize yesterday – and to make the achievement even sweeter he scored more than double the amount of points than his great rival Lionel Messi.
Barcelona talisman Messi finished second with 316 points, massively behind Ronaldo’s 745 points. Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann secured 198 points to finish third.
What a year Ronaldo has had, playing an integral part in Real Madrid’s Champions League triumph over rivals Atletico in May, in which he scored the winning spot kick.
Then in July he won the European Championship with Portugal – though he did have to make do with barking orders from the touchline after suffering injury early on in the final win over France.
Sports journalists from across the world voted to award Ronaldo his fourth Ballon d’Or, one less than Messi’s fifth.
Ronaldo, who could not attend the awards in Paris because he is in Yokohama, Japan, for Los Blancos’ Club World Cup semi-final against Club America: “I never imagined winning this trophy four times. I’m really happy and fulfilled.
Cristiano Ronaldo beats Lionel Messi to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or for a fourth time
“When it’s the first time the emotion is always special. But I feel today like I did in 2008.
“I have the opportunity to thank all of my team-mates, the national team, Real Madrid, all of the people who helped me to win this individual award.”
A full 107 points behind Griezmann came Luis Suarez in fourth place with Barcelona team mate Neymar winning 68 points.
Premier Leaguers Riyad Mahrez (20), Leicester team mate Jamie Vardy (11), Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba (5 each) and West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet (1) all made the top 20.
But not Aguero and De Bruyne.
Or Tottenham keeper Hugo Lloris.
They trailed in last along with Paulo Dybala (Juventus), Diego Godin and Koke (Atletico), Gonzalo Higuain (Juventus), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), and Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).