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Cristiano Ronaldo beats Lionel Messi and Neymar to win fifth Ballon d'Or

Ronaldo equals Messi with five wins, Gianluigi Buffon and Luka Modric finish fourth and fifth


Cristiano Ronaldo Ballon d'Or 2017 winner
Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the 2017 Ballon d'Or by France Football

What's the story?

Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2017 Ballon d'Or trophy to equal Lionel Messi's haul of winning the prestigious award five times in his career. The Portuguese forward beat his arch-rival Messi who finished in second place while Neymar finished third.

Gianluigi Buffon and Luka Modric also finished in the top five with the Italian goalkeeper finishing fourth and the Croatian midfielder coming in fifth respectively.

"I am here thanks to my coaches, teammates, family & friends who motivate me to work hard everyday." - Ronaldo

"We won so much this year because we have a leader in the dressing room like Zidane. I've learned from all my coaches. I've always taken something from each of them. Thank you for all your messages."

In case you didn't know...

The final 30-man shortlist for the Ballon d'Or was announced back in the second week of October. France Football have been announcing each player one-by-one in the final rankings based on the number of votes received.

They started with players ranked 30 to 21, followed by players ranked 20 to 11. The players then ranked 10 to 6 were announced just before the ceremony.

The results for the final three players (Ronaldo, Messi, and Neymar) were announced at the function after they revealed that Modric was fifth and Buffon was fourth.

The heart of the matter

Ronaldo capped off a stellar 2016/17 campaign by helping Real Madrid win their 12th UEFA Champions League title and the Spanish La Liga title.

It was the first time a club had managed to defend their European crown and Ronaldo had scored a season-high 12 goals in the competition.

Although he has been struggling in La Liga this season, he set a new record in the Champions League group stages by scoring in every single group game. Ronaldo has already scored 9 goals so far in the competition - three more than anyone else.

Ronaldo had also picked up the UEFA Best Player in Europe award as well as the The Best FIFA Men's Player recently. The Ballon d'Or completes a memorable treble for the 32-year-old star.

Video: Ronaldo receives his Ballon d'Or

Author's take

In most cases, such awards are popularity contests and some players who have won it all somehow slip under the radar when individual awards are given out (remember Franck Ribery missing out in spite of winning a treble?. However, there is no question about this year's winner as Ronaldo had delivered when it mattered.

10 goals in the knockout stages of the Champions League is almost unheard of and the Real Madrid talisman achieved that feat against teams such as Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, and Juventus - scoring hat-tricks against the former two and a brace in the final against Juve. 

His struggles in La Liga are well documented but the Champions League is where he reigns supreme. And he has proven that he is not done yet despite being 32. Messi and Neymar will have to fght it out for the 2018 accolade as there was no disputing the winner for 2017.

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