Paris: Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the Ballon d’Or for World Player of the Year on Thursday for a joint-record fifth time, going level with eternal rival and Barcelona forward Lionel Messi as the player to have won the prize the most times.
The Real Madrid forward won the award, handed out by magazine France Football, for the second consecutive year having led his side to the La Liga title with 25 goals and a successive Champions League crown, netting 12 goals including two in the 4-1 win over Juventus in the final.
Ronaldo collected the trophy in a glitzy ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in the French capital, presented by former France player David Ginola.
Messi came second while Paris St Germain forward Neymar Jr, the most expensive player in the world, came third; veteran Italian goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon finished fourth and Real midfielder Luka Modric came fifth.
Chelsea and France midfielder N’Golo Kante was the highest ranked Premier League player, coming eighth, while Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane, ranked 10th, was the only English player to make it into the top 10.
Ronaldo, who this year also helped the national side qualify for the World Cup in Russia next year, won his first Ballon d’Or in 2008 while with Manchester United and collected it again in 2013, 2014 and 2016.
Ronaldo has been able to counter criticism for his dire league form by continuing to lead the way in the Champions League, however, topping the scoring charts for a seventh year in a row with nine goals so far this season, also becoming the first player to score in all six group games.
Indeed, he won the award for the huge role he played in Real last season becoming the first team to successfully defend the Champions League since AC Milan in 1990.
Ronaldo came into his own in the latter stages of the competition, scoring eight goals against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid to help put Real in the final in Cardiff, where he netted twice in their 4-1 victory over Juventus.
Real also wrestled the La Liga title back from Barcelona last season, with Ronaldo scoring 25 goals along the way, including the first in their title clinching 2-0 win at Malaga.