Cristiano Ronaldo named Best FIFA men’s player for second year running

 Real Madrid star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday was named the FIFA men’s player of the year during a star-studded night at the Best FIFA Football Awards here. The Portugal striker was crowned as the best football player in the world for the second year running.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner won a La Liga and Champions League double with the Madrid club this year, striking twice against Juventus in the European Cup final to help Real become the first team to retain the trophy in its current format.

Barcelona’s Argentine forward Lionel Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or five times, and Paris St Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar were runners-up for the award voted by national team coaches and captains plus the media and fans.

Ronaldo has scored 44 goals in just 48 games for club and country so far this calendar year.

But, typical of a footballer who has enjoyed huge success at both Manchester United and Real, Ronaldo was not satisfied.

“I want seven. Five is good but seven is my lucky number so seven would be great.”

The Best FIFA Men’s Player award and the Ballon d’Or, which is voted for only by the media, are now separate awards.

Ronaldo had won the inaugural Best FIFA men’s player of the year award last year following the end of a six-year merger between the FIFA honour and France Football’s Ballon d’Or.

The 32-year-old previously won the FIFA World Player of the Year award, the precursor to the Best FIFA award, in 2008.

He has now won the last two FIFA men’s trophies as well as three of the last four Ballon d’Or awards.

“Thanks a lot for voting for me,” said the Portuguese ace after receiving his trophy from Argentina great Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Ronaldo at the London Palladium theatre.

“I mention Leo and Neymar, great to be here. Real Madrid supporters, my team-mates, my coach, they all support me all year.

“We are in England for the first time and I win consecutive awards,” he added. “This is a great moment for me. I have fans all over the world.”

Real Madrid’s coach Zinedine Zidane won the manager of the year trophy for his part in the club’s success.

Five Real players were named in the best XI of the year, with Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos joining Ronaldo, while Messi, Neymar, Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Dani Alves (PSG), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan) and Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) were also selected.

Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud won the Puskas Award for the best goal of the year, which was the Frenchman’s scorpion kick against Crystal Palace.

On accepting his award, Giroud said: “First of all I have to say, it’s an honour for me.

“I’m delighted to receive this trophy today in front of legends of football. Now I’d just like to thank the people who voted for me. I would like to congratulate the 10 nominees who scored amazing goals too.”

Juventus legend  Buffon also won the best goalkeeper of the year award ahead of 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,” the 39- year-old added.

The Netherlands’s Lieke Martens won best female player of the year, while the Dutch women”s national team coach Sarina Weigman was voted best manager after the team”s triumph at Euro 2017.

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