The worst-kept secret in football was made official last night as Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the 2016 Ballon D'Or by France Football.

Ronaldo obtained 745 points in the voting system, more than double that of his eternal rival for the crown of the world's best player, Leonel Messi, who received 316 points.

Portugal team-mates Pepe and Rui Patrício also obtained notable classifications, coming in 9th and 12th respectively in the ranking of the world's best footballers this calendar year according to the prestigious French magazine.

"This is the best year of my career, at individual and collective level," said Ronaldo. "I dedicate the award to my club and country team-mates."

Some analysts have announced a decline in Ronaldo's form, but 51 goals in 55 games in 2016 suggest he is far from finished just yet.

Messi bettered Ronaldo's stats in terms of goals and assists in the year, but it was undoubtedly the triumphs for Real Madrid in the Champions League and Portugal at Euro 2016 - the first time the Seleção have won a major trophy - that swayed the vote in Ronaldo's favour.

The Madeira-born superstar has now won the award distinguishing the best player on the planet of the world's most popular sport four times, and three times in the last four years.

Ballon D'Or winners over the last 9 years:

2008 Ronaldo
2009 Messi
2010 Messi
2011 Messi
2012 Messi
2013 Ronaldo
2014 Ronaldo
2015 Messi
2016 Ronaldo


In January Ronaldo is likely to have to find more space in his museum, when the FIFA Player of the Year is announced.

by Tom Kundert 


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"Is this squad stronger than the Euro 2016 squad? That's impossible to say. What I can say is that I'm as confident in this squad as I was for the Euro."

Fernando Santos
(Portugal coach after announcing the Seleção squad for World Cup 2018)