Real Madrid player Cristiano Ronaldo has been named Ballon d’Or winner for the fourth time on Monday night in Paris.
The 31-year-old Portuguese forward, who is currently in Japan for the Club World Cup duty with teammates, scored 19 goals for club and country this season, adding to the 51 he netted for Los Blancos last term and three at Euro 2016.
“It is a special moment. It means that all my sacrifice was worth it. I feel very happy to win this. I worked very hard,” Cristiano said. ”A lot of people helped me get here, and it is not easy to get here. You can count on one hand players who maintain this level year after year. I am one of them, and that is a source of pride for me. This has been the best year of my career from both a team and individual level. To win the title for Portugal was what was left to achieve on my resume and it was one of the most important moments. But to win Champions League as well with Real Madrid was huge. It is a huge honour to win the Ballon d’Or. I am very happy. This is a dream come true and it is the fourth time. I feel very proud. This win is for my teammates in both the club and the national team. It is incredible to earn this trophy again.”
He topped the poll of 173 journalists worldwide to take home France Football magazine’s coveted award ahead. He beat the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and perennial rival Lionel Messi.
The former Manchester United striker scored the winning penalty to secure Real Madrid’s second Champions League triumph in three years.
Cristiano followed up domestic success in Europe by leading his country to their first ever European Championship at Euro 2016.
He won the Ballon d’Or three times before, in 2008 when at Manchester United, then in 2013 and 2014 as Real Madrid’s superstar.