Ronaldo finishes year with his 4th best player award
ZURICH - Capping what he called the best year of his career, Cristiano Ronaldo won his fourth FIFA best player award on Monday.
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 percent of total voting points in a 23-candidate ballot was clearly better than Messi’s 26.42 percent. Griezmann got 7.53 percent. 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 on Wednesday.
“Of course, I wish that they (Barcelona players) had been here tonight like in the other years. We have to respect the decision,” Ronaldo said.
Yet again, Ronaldo and Messi snubbed each other on ballot papers they got as captains of Portugal and Argentina. Ronaldo selected three Real Madrid teammates headed by Gareth Bale, and Messi picked Luis Suarez atop an all-Barcelona ballot.
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.