Real Madrid star striker Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten Barcelona star Lionel Messi to clinch the Ballon d’or award for the fourth time. Ronaldo lifted the coveted award after inspiring Zinedine Zidane’s side to the Champions League glory and Portugal to the European Championship 2016 trophy.
Messi, on the other hand, had helped Barcelona win a domestic double last season but his hopes of guiding Argentina to a major international title were shattered after a penalty-shootout loss to Chile in the Copa America final.
Ronaldo, who previously lifted the prestigious prize in 2008, 2013 and 2014, is now one behind Messi, who took the honour for a fifth time last year.
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The Portuguese has scored 19 goals in 20 games for club and country this term, to add to the 54 goals he got last season. Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann finished at third place. He fired Atletico to the finals of the Champions League before inspiring France to Euro 2016 finals, but he suffered the agony of defeat on both occasions,goal.com reported.
Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale finished sixth in the vote, while Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy who was the only Englishman included on the 30-player shortlist ended up at the eighth spot.
The prestigious individual prize was judged solely by a panel of 173 journalists around the world after FIFA World Player of the Year award and Ballon d’Or ended their partnership this year.