Paris, Dec 13 (IANS) Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo was named here on Monday as the winner of the 2016 Ballon d’Or for the fourth time, second only to five-time recipient Lionel Messi.
The Portuguese international’s first golden ball came in 2008, before Manchester United sold him to the Blancos for $132 million, EFE news reported.
Ronaldo scored 51 goals in 54 games this year while leading Real Madrid to their record 11th Champions League trophy and Portugal to its first European Championship.
The 31-year-old striker was not on hand for the ceremony in Paris, as Real Madrid are in Japan this week for the semifinals of the Club World Cup.
“This has been the best year of my career from both a team and individual level,” Ronaldo said in an interview recorded earlier at the Santiago Bernabeu. “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,” he said, surrounded by the 11 trophies the team has won in Europe’s elite club competition.
“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,” Ronaldo said.
Presented by the magazine France Football, the Ballon d’Or has been awarded every year since 1956.
Messi, whose Barça squad won La Liga and the Copa del Rey came second in the voting for the Ballon d’Or, followed by Antoine Griezmann of Champions League finalist Atletico Madrid.