Cristiano Ronaldo claimed FIFA’s inaugural best player of the year award, the latest prize for the Real Madrid and Portugal star after a glittering 2016 for club and country.
Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri received the best men’s coach award yeterday following his side’s fairytale Premier League triumph.
But the night again belonged to the 31-year-old Ronaldo, who edged out long-time nemesis Lionel Messi for the trophy as well as France’s Antoine Griezmann, the top player at this summer’s European championship.
“2016 was the best year of my career,” Ronaldo said after being handed the prize from FIFA President Gianni Infantino.
Ranieri, 65, who saw off Real boss Zinedine Zidane and Portugal manager Fernando Santos, said the best coach honour was “incredible” after receiving the prize from Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.
US midfielder Carli Lloyd scooped the best women’s player of 2016, the two-time Olympic gold medallist adding to her 2015 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year accolade.
Spain’s La Liga accounted for nine of the 11 players in the FIFPro team of the year with Ronaldo and Messi headlining a star-studded line-up.
FIFA also gave a fair play prize to the Colombian side Atletico Nacional.