Cristiano Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d'Or to equal Lionel Messi; Neymar in top-three

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Lionel Messi's five Ballon d'Or awards after retaining football's most prestigious individual prize for the second year running.

The 32-year-old was named France Football's player of the year for the fourth time in five years after a brilliant 2016-17 in which he won La Liga and the Champions League with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d'Or

Ronaldo also became the all-time leading scorer in Europe's top five leagues when he reached 366 goals in May to overtake Jimmy Greaves.

His two goals in Madrid's Champions League final victory over Juventus also took the Portugal star past 600 career goals, while Messi only reached the 500 mark for Barcelona six weeks earlier.

"I'm very happy. To get this prize in Paris is a great experience," he said. "It's marvellous. It's a great moment of my career. It's something I wish I have every year.

"We had a marvellous year. I was the goalscorer of the Champions League, so I want to thank my team-mates. They were important for me.

"And also thanks everybody who helped me to be in great form during the season."

The Ballon d'Or is voted for by a jury of 173 journalists from around the world and presented by France Football, having ended its six-year partnership with FIFA, which ran from 2009 to 2015.

Ronaldo and Messi jointly hold the record for the most Ballons d'Or, having won five each and dominated the top two places in the standings since 2008.

The last player to beat either of them to the award was Kaka in 2007 and since then the pair have thrived on a rivalry that has defined a generation.

Teammates and former Manchester United teammates paid tribute to Ronaldo after his Ballon d'Or win.

Even Brazil legend Pele tweeted about Ronaldo on an eventful Thursday night.

Source: OPTA

Story first published: Friday, December 8, 2017, 1:00 [IST]
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