Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten off competition from the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to claim his fourth Ballon d’Or.
The prolific Portuguese, who previously lifted the prestigious prize in 2008, 2013 and 2014, has enjoyed arguably the most successful year of his illustrious career, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid before captaining his country to European Championship glory in France. Messi, who boasts a record five Ballons d’Or, helped Barcelona win a domestic double last season but his dream of leading Argentina to a major international title was dashed by a penalty-shootout loss to Chile in the final of the Copa America.
As for Griezmann, the 24-year-old attacker fired both Atletico Madrid and France to the finals of the Champions League and Euro 2016, respectively, but he suffered the agony of defeat on both occasions. Ronaldo, by contrast, tasted nothing but success over the summer by converting the winning spot-kick in Real’s 11th European Cup triumph, in May, and then cheer-leading the Seleccao to victory over France in Paris just over six weeks later.
With the 31-year-old having already finished top of the Goal 50 and now claimed another Ballon d’Or, he is set to complete a hat-trick of individual honours for 2016 when FIFA announces the winner of its Best Player award in January.