Cristiano Ronaldo lifts Best FIFA Men’s Player award again

LONDON – Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. to win the Best FIFA Men’s Player award for the second year running.

Ronaldo, who won the inaugural prize last year, was presented the award at the Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony in London on Monday.

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The award, which covers the period of Nov. 20, 2016, to July 2, 2017, is voted for by national team coaches, captains, selected media and fans. Once again, neither Messi nor Ronaldo voted for each other.

All tallied, Ronaldo won 43.16 percent of the total votes, while Lionel Messi came away with 19.25 percent and Neymar just 6.97 percent, the ESPN reported.

“Thank you a lot to the guys for voting for me,” Ronaldo said in accepting the award. “[I want] to give a mention to Leo and Neymar to be here, Real Madrid supporters, my teammates, my coach, my president -they support me all the year so I have to say thank you to them.

“We are in England for the first time and I win consecutive awards. This is a great moment for me.”

The Portugal captain had been favourite to claim the accolade after a year that saw him help Madrid to a third Champions League crown in four seasons and a first La Liga title in five years, as well as the FIFA Club World Cup.

Ronaldo scored twice as Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in the Champions League final, while also finishing top scorer in the competition with 12 goals.

The Madrid man will hope to follow up this success by winning the 2017 Ballon d’Or, which would see him draw level with Messi in having won the prize five times.

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FIFA ran its own awards for the second time after ending its partnership with France Football.

Best FIFA Men’s Coach

Also at Monday’s award ceremony, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was named the Best FIFA Men’s Coach.

Zidane won the award over fellow finalists Massimiliano Allegri of Juventus and Antonio Conte of Chelsea, both of whom won domestic league titles this year.

Best FIFA Goalkeeper

In a new award this year, Gianluigi Buffon was named the Best FIFA Goalkeeper for his play with Juventus and Italy. Buffon was also named to the FIFPro World 11 for the first time in a decade.

Buffon guided Juve to a sixth consecutive Serie A title and managed 600 Champions League minutes without conceding a goal. The 39-year-old held off competition from fellow nominees Keylor Navas of Real Madrid and Manuel Neuer of Bayern Munich.

“I am very happy, for me it is a great honour to receive this award at my age,” Buffon said. “I think the last year has been a fantastic season for Juventus and for me personally. It wasn’t enough to win in Europe and for this year I hope that we can play better and with the national team and Juventus.”