Ronaldo's golden year rewarded with fourth Ballon d'Or

Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:29pm EST
 
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By Julien Pretot

PARIS (Reuters) - Cristiano Ronaldo capped a remarkable year by claiming a fourth Ballon d'Or award on Monday after leading Portugal to an emotional European Championship title and Real Madrid to a record-extending Champions League crown in 2016.

Ronaldo is one short of the record tally of five awards won by Barcelona's Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who was second with the pair having taken the first two spots since 2011.

"For me it's a great honor to receive my fourth golden ball. The emotion is like for the first one, it's a dream come true again. I never thought in my mind to win four times. I'm so happy," said Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014.

"It's probably the best year of my career collectively, with Real Madrid and Portugal.

"Real are used to winning titles while Portugal had never won a major title so this (Euro 2016) title is special. I don't want to lack respect to the Champions League but the title with Portugal is a level above."

The Ballon d'Or, which merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year award from 2010-15 to create the FIFA Ballon d'Or, returned to France Football magazine this year.

A total of 173 journalists voted but not national team coaches and captains who were also polled for the FIFA award.

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Football Soccer - Real Madrid training - FIFA Club World Cup - Yokohama, Japan - 12/12/16. Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo attends training ahead of FIFA Club World Cup Semi-Final match against Club America. REUTERS/Issei Kato