Cristiano Ronaldo has been crowned the first ever world player of the year at the Best FIFA Football Awards. The Real Madrid star fought off competition from Barcelona rival Lionel Messi to win the trophy in its inaugural year.
Ronaldo, who picked up his fourth Ballon d’Or in December, also landed the first separate FIFA prize since world football’s governing body and France Football announced in September that they would be presenting two separate awards.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player award is voted for by each of FIFA’s 211 nations comprising the national team captain, manager, a journalist from every FIFA nation, and fans registered on FIFA.com — each group holding 25 percent of electoral weight — for a player’s performances from Nov. 20, 2015 to Nov. 22, 2016.
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi shone as Barca won the 2015-16 La Liga title, but the Argentina international was upstaged this year by Ronaldo, who won both the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and Euro 2016 with Portugal in a stunning year.
Ronaldo scored 61 goals and registered 20 assists in 60 games for club and country during voting period (48 goals in 47 games for Real Madrid; 13 in 13 games for Portugal), while Messi netted 59 goals, 34 assists in 64 games (51 goals in 53 games for Barcelona; eight in 11 games for Argentina) and lost in the Copa America final to Chile.