Cristiano Ronaldo has won his fifth Ballon d’Or title, equalling the record haul held by long-time rival Lionel Messi.
Barcelona legend Messi may have outscored the Portuguese this calendar year – with 52 goals to 49 – but the Argentina forward had to settle for second place thanks to Ronaldo’s role in helping Real Madrid to a record 12th Champions League trophy in June.
The 32-year-old notched hat-tricks against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the quarter and semi-finals and a double in the 4-1 win over Juventus in the final, contributing to his club record tally of 416 goals, and he also played a key part in his team’s La Liga triumph under boss Zinedine Zidane.
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Ronaldo was unveiled as the winner of FIFA’s annual award during a lavish ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in Paris and described it as “a great moment” in his career.
“This is something I look forward to every year,” he said.
“Last year we had an amazing season in the Champions League and La Liga. I have to thank my team-mates, Real Madrid and the rest of the people who helped me to be in great shape throughout the season.”
Some had tipped Brazilian star Neymar to take home the award in what is now his home city after his £200m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in August, including fellow Brazilian and Liverpool favourite Philippe Coutinho.
But the forward finished third, ahead of club teammates Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani in the top 30.
Notable inclusions from the Premier League included Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante – who finished seventh – and Tottenham and England striker Harry Kane – who finished 10th.