Kolkata: Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo beat Lionel Messi to win the prestigious Ballon D’Or ward for a record fifth time and twice in consecutive years. The achievement also took him level with the diminutive Argentine who had won it for the fifth time in 2015.
Ronaldo who guided the Los Blancos their 12th Champions League crown and also their first La Liga title since 2012, scoring a whopping 42 goals in all competitions reclaimed his dominance once again in world football after a shabby start to the current season.
The Portugese talisman had scored a brace in the 4-1 Chamions League final win against Juventus and netted 25 goals in the 29 matches he played in the La Liga, helping Real finish three points above Barcelona.
“I feel very happy, it’s a fantastic moment in my career, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” he said after receiving the award on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
“This year has been great, we won the Champions League and La Liga and, on a personal level, I was a top scorer in the Champions League. Trophies help win these awards and we have to thank my colleagues from Madrid and Portugal, it was very important for me,” he added.
Meanwhile, Lionel Messi who had become the first ever footballer to win the Ballon D’Or five times in his career finished second, while his former Barcelona teammate Neymar Jr now at Paris St-Germain came third, in the voting conducted by a panel of journalists and organised by France Football Magazine.
The 32-year-old just a day ago had become the first player to score a goal in each of the six Chamions League group stage games this season after he netted one against Borussia Dortmund taking his tally to 114 career goals in the top European club tournament.
Gianluigi Buffon who had a stellar year reaching the CL finals twice in three years finished fourth, while Ronaldo’s Madrid teammates Luca Modric and captain Sergio Ramos finished fifth and sixth respectively.
Antoine Griezmann who had come third in 2016, shockingly finished 18th. So was ‘El Tigre’ Radamel Falcao who seems to have resurrected his career with Monaco after a disappointing campaign in the EPL, came a low 24th.
Ronaldo’s win also makes him along with Messi the two sportsmen to have won all the Ballon D’Ors since 2008. Brazilian legend Kaka was the last footballer to win the award in 2007 other than the two greatest of all time.
It was also the 10th Ballon D’Or won by a Real Madrid player and seventh by a Portugese. Barcelona leads the clubs chart with 11 awards, while Portugal is tied with Netherlands and Germany having won seven awards each.
Here is the complete list of all the shortlisted 30 candidates with their rankings –
1: Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal)
2: Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
3: Neymar (Paris St-Germain/Brazil)
4: Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus/Italy)
5: Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
6: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain)
7: Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain/France)
8: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)
9: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
10: Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur/England)
11: Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain/Uruguay)
12: Isco (Real Madrid/Spain)
13: Luis Suarez (Barcelona/Uruguay)
14: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
15: Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Argentina)
16: Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil)
17: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/Germany)
18: Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/France)
19: Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)
20: David De Gea (Manchester United/Spain)
21: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon)
22: Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan/Italy)
23: Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal)
24: Radamel Falcao (Monaco/Colombia)
25: Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
26: Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid/Slovenia)
27: Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich/Germany)
28: Edin Dzeko (Roma/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
29: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/Brazil)
30: Dries Mertens (Napoli/Belgium)