Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo has promised to go in pursuit of a fifth Ballon d’Or in 2017 after being crowned the world’s best player for the fourth time in his career.
Ronaldo has so far netted 48 goals in 52 matches for club and country during 2016, a year which has seen the 31-year-old win the Champions League with Real and European Championship with Portugal.
The award has moved Ronaldo clear of three-time winners Marco van Basten, Michel Platini and Johan Cruyff, while a fifth trophy would see the former Manchester United forward draw level with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi.
When asked about the possibility of a fifth Ballon d’Or, Ronaldo said: “I will try my best like every year. Every year is a new challenge and I love to play football.
“I will try my best for Real Madrid first, and the national team again if it’s possible, because we know it is very difficult to win tournaments. It is not easy to win this [Ballon d’Or] so I will enjoy this win at this moment.
“The emotion is the same as the first one again, the dream coming true again. I never thought I’d win a fourth golden ball so I’m so pleased and so happy.”
Perennial Ballon d’Or nominee Messi came second as Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Neymar made up the top five.
Ronaldo’s Real team-mate Gareth Bale was sixth, while Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez received the seventh highest number of votes and Jamie Vardy – the only Englishman included in the 30-player shortlist – was eighth.
Former non-league frontman Vardy finished ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the polling. West Ham playmaker Dimitri Payet came joint 17th.