Cristiano Ronaldo retained his FIFA men’s player of the year crown on Monday night, beating Lionel Messi and Neymar to earn the accolade of the world’s best footballer.
The Real Madrid star picked up the award ahead of his rivals from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain on the back of triumphs in La Liga and the Champions League last season.
Ronaldo has scored 44 goals for club and country so far in 2017 and scored twice in the Champions League final in June as Real retained the trophy and became European champions for a record-extending 12th time.
‘Thank you a lot guys for voting for me,’ Ronaldo said. ‘(I would like) to give a mention to Leo (Messi) and Neymar for being here. Real Madrid supporters, my teammates, coach, president all support all through the year so I have to say thank you to them.
We are in England for the first time and I win consecutive awards so i’m really glad, it’s a great moment for me. Fifa give the opportunity to fans, I know I have fans all over the world (so) thanks for the support, I appreciate it… I’m so happy, thank you very much.’
The Real Madrid star was presented the award by Diego Maradona and his Brazilian namesake at Monday’s ceremony, which took place at the London Palladium and is the second since the FIFA award once again split from the Ballon d’Or prize.
Messi has hit 50 goals for Barca and Argentina while Neymar, the world’s most expensive player after he left Barcelona for PSG in £198million in the summer, has 25 goals to his name for Barca, PSG and Brazil.
But with his team silverware outshining those of his two rivals, Ronlado was the heavy favourite to win the award for a second year running.
He flew into London on Monday alongside a host of other footballing stars including PSG right back Dani Alves, who turned up in a leather, studded jacket, Maradona, and Patrick Kluivert.
Earlier in the evening, Olivier Giroud picked up the Puskas Award for best goal after his stunning scorpion kick for Arsenal against Crystal Palace, while Zinedine Zidane was named coach of the year.