Real Madrid striker Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten Lionel Messi and Neymar to be awarded the 2017 Ballon d’Or award in a glitzy ceremony at the Eiffel Tower as the Real Madrid superstar clinched the gong for a fifth time and the second year in a row.
The 32-year-old is now level with Messi (who won the most recent of his five awards in 2015) on five Ballon d’Ors after previously winning it in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016, with Messi being the only other recipient of the award since 2009.
The 2017 winner was unveiled in a dramatic video which slowly zoomed in on a sparkling Eiffel Tower to reveal Ronaldo standing on the podium and holding up the trophy.
After being presented with the award, the Portuguese vowed to ‘let the rivalry continue’ between himself and Messi as they battle for future Ballon d’Ors and other awards between them.
“I hope to play at a high level for a few more years,’ Ronaldo said when asked about rival Messi. ‘Let’s have the fight continue in a good way. He will do his best for his club and his national team.
“And I will do my best for Real Madrid and my national team. So let’s see at the end of the day who is better and see who at the end of the year what collective awards we win and what the people voted.’
“Of course, I feel happy. It’s a big moment in my career,’ Ronaldo said. ‘It’s something I look forward to every year. Thanks to my Real Madrid team-mates. And I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.’
Christiano Ronaldo helped Portugal win Euro 2016, scored 42 goals for his club Real Madrid in all competitions including a brace in a 4-1 Champions League final win over Juventus and saw him net 25 times in 29 league games as Los Blancos finished three points ahead of Barcelona, making them win their 33rd La Liga title and 12th European Cup.
World’s most expensive player Neymar, came third finishing behind Messi while Juventus’ veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon finished fourth.
PSG wonder kid Kylian Mbappe finished seventh in the voting at just the age 18 years. The French young star made headlines after his brilliant performance for Monaco both in the domestic league and in the Champion’s League during the 2016/2017 season
Ronaldo’s Madrid team-mates in the running includes Luka Modric finishing fifth behind Buffon and Sergio Ramos finishing sixth. Isco (12th), Marcelo (16th), Toni Kroos (17th) and Karim Benzema (25th) completes Los Blancos’ seven nominations for the award.
The Premier League player highest vote was for Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante who finished eighth while Tottenham striker Harry Kane managed to get the top 10 spot.
The other Premier League players in the voting were Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne coming (14th), while Chelsea’s Eden Hazard was (19th), Manchester United’s David De Gea (20th) and Liverpool duo Sadio Mane (22nd) and Philippe Coutinho (joint-29th).
THE 30-MAN SHORTLIST AS VOTED
1. Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid
2. Lionel Messi – Barcelona
3. Neymar – Paris Saint-Germain
4. Gianluigi Buffon – Juventus
5. Luka Modric – Real Madrid
6. Sergio Ramos – Real Madrid
7. Kylian Mbappe – Paris Saint-Germain
8. N’Golo Kante – Chelsea
9. Robert Lewandowski – Bayern Munich
10. Harry Kane – Tottenham
11. Edinson Cavani – Paris Saint-Germain
12. Isco – Real Madrid
13. Luis Suarez – Barcelona
14. Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City
15. Paulo Dybala – Juventus
16. Marcelo – Real Madrid
17. Toni Kroos – Real Madrid
18. Antoine Griezmann – Atletico Madrid
19. Eden Hazard – Chelsea
20. David De Gea – Manchester United
21. Leonardo Bonucci – Juventus
21= Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Borussia Dortmund
23. Sadio Mane – Liverpool
24. Radamel Falcao – Monaco
25. Karim Benzema – Real Madrid
26. Jan Oblak – Atletico Madrid
27. Mats Hummels – Bayern Munich
28. Edin Dzeko – Roma
29. Dries Mertens – Napolo
29= Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool
The Ballon d’Or is voted for by 173 journalists from across the world.It has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, but for six years it became the Fifa Ballon d’Or in association with world football’s governing body and was awarded to the best player in the world. However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September 2016.