Real Madrid's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo with the Ballon d'Or.
Real Madrid's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo with the Ballon d'Or. ANGEL MARTINEZ - FRANCE FOOTBALL

Ronaldo caps stellar year with Ballon d'Or

FOOTBALL: Cristiano Ronaldo has won his fourth Ballon d'Or as the world's best footballer.

It caps off a career-best year for the Real Madrid and Portugal forward after claiming the European Championship and Champions League titles in 2016.

Ronaldo won his latest annual FIFA award ahead of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann and Neymar.

He is now one short of Messi's record tally of five. The Argentinean superstar was runner-up this year to Ronaldo.

The 31-year-old, who was not there to collect the award in person due to Real Madrid's Club World Cup commitments, described his latest triumph as "a dream come true”.

"I never imagined winning this trophy four times,” he said. "I'm really happy and fulfilled.

"When it's the first time, the emotion is always special. But I feel today like I did in 2008.”

Ronaldo also won the award in 2013 and 2014, as well as in 2008 when it was still known as the FIFA Player of the Year award. It became the Ballon d'Or in 2010.

"It's probably the best year of my career collectively, with Real Madrid and Portugal,” Ronaldo said.

"Real are used to winning titles while Portugal had never won a major title so this (Euro 2016) title is special. I don't want to lack respect to the Champions League but the title with Portugal is a level above.”


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