Cristiano Ronaldo beats Lionel Messi to claim Ballon d'Or for fifth time
Portuguese football sensation Cristiano Ronaldo won a fifth Ballon d'Or award for the year's best player on Thursday. This levels him up with Barcelona star and archrival Lionel Messi who was the runner up. The fifth Ballon d'Or is also Ronaldo’s second successive win. Brazilian star Neymar, who recently moved to Paris Saint-Germain for a record fee of 222 million Euros came in third.
“With Messi the fight continues, in a good way,” said Ronaldo after being presented the trophy awarded by the magazine France Football at a ceremony held at the Eiffel Tower. The 32-year-old Real Madrid forward had previously won the award in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016.
“Thanks to my Real Madrid teammates,” Ronaldo said, adding. “I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.” Ronaldo is currently the all-time leading scorer in the history of the Champions League with 115 goals and had also won the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award in October.
Ronaldo netted 42 goals in all competitions for Real last season, and scored 15 times in the European World Cup qualifying rounds.
The France Football magazine award was first won by Stanley Mathews in 1956 and winners are decided upon by a journalists’ ballot, with each naming a top five from a list of 30 contenders.
Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon finished fourth, helping Juventus reach the Champions League final, and Real Madrid’s Croatian midfielder Luka Modric completed the top five.