Cristiano Ronaldo equalled Lionel Messi’s five Ballon d’Or awards after retaining football’s most prestigious individual prize for the second year running.
The 32-year-old was named France Football’s player of the year for the fourth time in five years after a brilliant 2016-17 in which he won LaLiga and the Champions League with Real Madrid.
Ronaldo also became the all-time leading scorer in Europe’s top five leagues when he reached 366 goals in May to overtake Jimmy Greaves.
His two goals in Madrid’s Champions League final victory over Juventus also took the Portugal star past 600 career goals, while Messi only reached the 500 mark for Barcelona six weeks earlier.
Messi finished second to Ronaldo in the vote, with Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar completing the top three.
“I’m very happy. To get this prize in Paris is a great experience,” Ronaldo told L’Equipe TV.
“It’s marvellous. It’s a great moment of my career. It’s something I wish I have every year.
“We had a marvellous year. I was the goalscorer of the Champions League, so I want to thank my team-mates. They were important for me.
“And also thanks everybody who helped me to be in great form during the season.”
The Ballon d’Or is voted for by a jury of 173 journalists from around the world and presented by France Football, having ended its six-year partnership with FIFA, which ran from 2009 to 2015.
Ronaldo and Messi jointly hold the record for the most Ballons d’Or, having won five each and dominated the top two places in the standings since 2008.
The last player to beat either of them to the award was Kaka in 2007 and since then the pair have thrived on a rivalry that has defined a generation.
Cristiano Ronaldo speaking after picking up a record-equalling fifth Ballon d’Or:
Of course I feel happy. This is something I look forward to every year. The trophies won last year helped to win this award. Thanks to the Real Madrid team-mates. And I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.
I hope I can play at the greatest level for a few more years.
The battle continues with Messi, we’re doing the best we can for our teams.
I think things are happening for a reason. I feel good, let’s see what happens in the future. I’m happy at Real and I want to stay and finish my career there if possible.