Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid has won the 2016 Ballon d’Or, clinching the title for a fourth time after seeing off rival Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or after a year in which he enjoyed victory at Euro 2016 for Portugal and in the Champions League for his club.
The 61st Golden Ball will be awarded by France Football, the magazine that created the award after it ended its partnership with FIFA.
The result was not a surprise after France Football leaked a copy of the magazine with Ronaldo on the cover with the Ballon d’Or trophy.
The magazine is said to publish an exclusive interview with the winner, which is said to have been done on Thursday last week.
The Real Madrid star, currently in Japan, beat rival Lionel Messi to the award for the world’s best player.
It was conspicuous during the ceremony that three of the top contenders for the award were all else where. Ronaldo in Japan for the club World Cup semi final game, Messi in Qatar for a Barcelona friendly game and Griezman in a La Liga game against Villarreal.
“A great honour to receive my fourth golden ball,” Ronaldo said upon receiving the award at the Bernabéu.
“The emotion is like the first one. It’s the dream come true again. I never thought in my mind to win the golden ball four times so I’m so pleased and happy.
“I have the opportunity to thank all my team-mates, the national team, Real Madrid, all the people and players who helped me to win this individual award. So as you can imagine I feel so proud and happy to receive this amazing and beautiful ball.”