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Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo was named France Football‘s 2017 Ballon d’Or winner on Thursday and took home his fifth such award to draw level with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who finished second.
The 32-year-old has clinched back-to-back Ballon d’Or gongs for the second time in his career—having done so in 2013-14—having already been named The Best FIFA Men’s Player at the London Palladium in October:
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Final ranking of Ballon d’Or France Football 2017 : 1st – CRISTIANO RONALDO Live ranking : https://t.co/VCaRs94Ncc #BallondOr https://t.co/nTqDckl0ex
Ronaldo’s 2017 plaudits included helping Real win La Liga for the first time in five years and becoming the first team to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League title. Portugal also finished third at the 2017 Confederations Cup with the aid of their captain.
The record-tying talisman has enjoyed one of the most prolific years of his career as far as silverware is concerned, and he spoke after clinching his most recent gong, per the Mirror:
“I feel very happy, it’s a fantastic moment in my career, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
“This year has been great, we won the Champions League and La Liga and, on a personal level, I was a top scorer in the Champions League.
“Trophies help win these awards and we have to thank my colleagues from Madrid and Portugal, it was very important for me.”
It’s only natural that much of the conversation regarding Ronaldo’s fifth Ballon d’Or triumph turned to his ongoing battle with Argentinian phenomenon Messi, with whom he has now accounted for the past 10 awards.
However, his reference to the Barca superstar in his acceptance speech was a humble one and analysed their head-to-head in a good-hearted manner: “I hope to play at this level for a few more years, I hope the battle with Messi continues, things happen for a reason. I feel good this season and we’ll see what we win at the end of the year.”
Paris Saint-Germain whiz Neymar finished third on the podium for the second time in his career, and Ronaldo spoke positively of the former Barca star and the impact he’s set to have on this competition: “Neymar has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, and I’m sure he’ll have some chance to win in the future.”
Ronaldo also gave some indication of his Ballon d’Or target when asked what he wants for Christmas, having recently had his fourth child with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez: “Another baby … no, it’s a joke, we’re going to enjoy the four of us, I want seven Gold Balls and seven children.”
That outcome would be difficult to deny Ronaldo should he lead Real to a third successive European triumph, although finishing second to Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League group has dented those hopes.
One thing we know is that Ronaldo will continue to vie for the title of world’s best, and we can only hope drawing with Messi in Ballon d’Or wins may yet coax something even greater out of 2017’s best.