Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2017 has begun like 2016 ended, with more silverware.
The soccer superstar can now add “The Best FIFA Men’s Player 2016” to his trophy cabinet, after a year in which he landed a double European triumph with club and country, as well as the prestigious Ballon d’Or Award.
Ronaldo accepted FIFA’s top prize at Monday’s ceremony in Zurich, co-hosted by Hollywood actress Eva Longoria.
He received 34.54% of the total vote to beat Barcelona and Argentina striker Lionel Messi (26.42%) and Antoine Griezmann (7.53%) of Atletico Madrid and France.
The 31-year-old had a stellar 2016 — and he called it “the best of my career.”
“I had a lot of doubts but the trophy showed that I lived up to that. After I won what I did, I had no doubts,” he said.
“It was a year that was magnificent on a personal level, on a sports level. I would like to thank very warmly everybody who voted for me. To the fans, to the other players, to the media: Thank you.”
In May, Ronaldo scored the winning penalty for Real Madrid in the Champions League final to defeat city rival Atletico and secure the third European title of his career.
Then as captain of Portugal’s national team he lifted the Euro 2016 trophy after beating host France in the final. It was the first time Ronaldo had won a major honor with his country.
Ronaldo scored 51 goals in club competitions last season as Real Madrid missed out on the La Liga title to Messi’s Barcelona by a point. He’s already scored 17 this campaign, as Zinedine Zidane’s side has opened up a four-point lead in the Spanish title race and matched its arch rival’s record of 39 domestic matches unbeaten.
Messi, Ronaldo’s perennial sparring partner when it comes to the top awards and a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, won a domestic league and cup double with Barcelona last season, scoring 51 goals in all competitions in the process.
Griezmann was named the best player in the Spanish league last season, helping Atletico to third in La Liga, and to its second Champions League final in three years, this time losing to Real in a penalty shootout.
The 25-year-old had a superb Euro 2016, helping France to the final by scoring a tournament-leading six goals and creating two, before he suffered heartbreak at the hands of Ronaldo again.
However, unlike Ronaldo and Messi he was not picked in the FIFA awards’ FIFPro World XI.Votes from supporters account for 25% of the award, and the same amount is allocated to members of the world’s press. National team coaches and captains also contribute 25% of the voting each.
FIFA had run its awards jointly with the Ballon d’Or for the past five years, but that agreement with France Football magazine has now ended and both organizations now have their own competitions.
Full list of awards:
Men’s player: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).
Women’s player: Carli Lloyd (United States).
Men’s coach: Claudio Ranieri (Leicester City).
Women’s coach: Silvia Neid (Germany).
FIFA Fair Play: Atletico Nacional (Colombia).
FIFA Puskas best goal: Mohd Faiz Subri (Penang FA).
Outstanding career: Falcao (Brazil).
Fans: Borussia Dortmund/Liverpool.
FIFA FIFPro World XI: Manuel Neuer (Germany/Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Brazil/Juventus), Gerard Pique (Spain/Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Spain/Real Madrid), Marcelo (Brazil/Real Madrid); Luka Modric (Croatia/Real Madrid, Toni Kroos (Germany/Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Spain/Barcelona); Lionel Messi (Argentina/Barcelona), Luis Suarez (Uruguay/Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal/Real Madrid).