Four for Ronaldo
Capping what he called the best year of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fourth FIFA best player award yesterday.
The double European champion with Portugal and Real Madrid beat great rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to complete a sweep of top individual awards.
"It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sporting level," the 31-year-old Ronaldo said in Portuguese in his acceptance speech, which he began by exclaiming "Wow! Wow! Wow!"
Ronaldo's fourth career FIFA award closed the gap on five-time winner Messi, who has been the runner-up to each Ronaldo victory.
His 34.54 per cent of total voting points in a 23-candidate ballot was clearly better than Messi's 26.42 per cent. Griezmann got 7.53 per cent. Voting was by national team captains and coaches, selected media, and fans online.
Messi did not attend after being pulled out hours before the ceremony by his club, Barcelona, to prepare for a cup match tomorrow.
Ronaldo's 2016 trophy haul included the European Championship, Champions League, and Club World Cup, plus individual best player awards from UEFA and France Football magazine.