Ronaldo wins Ballon d’Or for the fourth time

Cristiano Ronaldo has claimed the Ballon d'Or for a fourth time after being named as Europe's best footballer by France Football on Monday.

The 31-year-old forward enjoyed a phenomenal 2016, which saw him lift the UEFA Champions League trophy with Real Madrid before leading Portugal to glory at Euro 2016.

Ronaldo scored 35 goals in 36 appearances as Los Blancos finished as runners-up to Barcelona in La Liga, while he spearheaded their European challenge with 16 goals from 12 games in the competition.

He then bagged three goals for his country at the European Championship en route to the finals, where they beat host nation France 1-0 to lift the trophy for the first time.

The Portuguese superstar was not present to receive his award as he is competing at the Club World Cup with Madrid, but relayed the following words:

“The emotion is the same as the first one again, the dream coming true again. I never thought I’d win a fourth golden ball so I’m so pleased and so happy.

“I need to thank all my teammates, the national team, Real Madrid, all the people that helped me win this individual trophy. As you can imagine I feel so proud and happy to receive this amazing award.”

On the possibility of winning a fifth, he added: “I will try my best like every year. Every year is a new challenge and I love to play football so I will try my best for Real Madrid first, and the national team again if it’s possible, because we know it is very difficult to win tournaments.

“It is not easy to win this [Ballon d’Or] so I will enjoy this win at this moment.”

The ceremony ended in bizarre fashion when France Football announced the winner straight after revealing the final placings for six to 10, skipping out two to five.

The remaining placings were eventually named, with Lionel Messi finishing in second, and France and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann surprisingly edging out Luis Suarez for third – though perhaps not so surprising considering the Ballon d’Or is now exclusively a French poll.

Suarez was followed by Barcelona team-mate Neymar in fifth.

Ballon d’Or Top Twenty

1 Cristiano Ronaldo
2 Lionel Messi
3 Antoine Griezmann
4 Luis Suarez
5 Neymar
6 Gareth Bale
7 Riyad Mahrez
8 Jamie Vardy
9 Pepe
9 Gianluigi Buffon
11 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
12 Rui Patricio
13 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
14 Paul Pogba
14 Arturo Vidal
16 Robert Lewandowski
17 Toni Kroos
17 Luka Modric
17 Dimitri Payet