Cristiano Ronaldo won FIFA’s rebranded player of the year award on Monday, beating off his old rival Lionel Messi who was pulled out of the ceremony only a few hours earlier by his club Barcelona hours. (HIGHLIGHTS)
Italian Claudio Ranieri won the coach of the year award for leading outsiders Leicester City to the English Premier League title.
The 31-year-old Ronaldo was rewarded for a year in which he won the Champions League with his club Real Madrid and then Euro 2016 with Portugal. Messi was second in the vote and Frenchman Antoine Griezmann third.
- Cristiano Ronaldo won Euro championship with Portugal and Champions League with Real Madrid in 2016
- Ronaldo also won the Ballon D’Or trophy in December 2016
- Ronaldo has won the FIFA award in 2008, 2013 and 2014
“2016 was the best year of my career,” Ronaldo said after being handed the prize from FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sports level.”
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.
Under Ranieri’s leadership, Leicester pulled off one of the greatest shocks in English football history by defying title odds of 5,000-1 to lift the Premier League trophy last season.
Having miraculously avoided relegation the previous season, the Foxes rode that wave of momentum all the way to the title.
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.
The American finished ahead of Brazilian star Marta and Germany’s Melanie Behringer.
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.
“With the aim of prioritising preparations for Wednesday’s game against Athletic Club, FC Barcelona have decided that the players recognised in the awards will not be travelling to Switzerland for the ceremony,” said the club in a statement.
Ronaldo also won the France Football’s Ballon d’Or, the other major international award for the sport, last month.
Ronaldo also won the old FIFA award once in 2008 and also in 2013 and 2014 when it was organised jointly with France Football magazine.