Cristiano Ronaldo reflected on an “unforgettable” 2016 after being named the winner of the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time in his illustrious career.
The Real Madrid and Portugal superstar regained the accolade from long-time Barcelona rival Lionel Messi, with Ronaldo accruing 745 points from the jury of 173 international journalists who voted for the victor.
Ronaldo has enjoyed a sensational 12 months, winning the Champions League with Madrid and earning a first international title with Portugal at Euro 2016.
And the 31-year-old, who has 51 goals to his name for club and country so far this year, reflected that it was Portugal’s success at Euro 2016, where his three tournament goals saw him match Michel Platini as the record goalscorer in European Championship history, that ranks among his best achievement.
“Winning the Euros, the Champions League and now the Ballon d’Or is unforgettable,” Ronaldo told L’Equipe. “This year was the best of my career, both at an individual and at team level.
— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) December 12, 2016
“For me, it’s a great honour to receive my fourth Ballon d’Or. The emotion is the same as in the past. The dream becomes reality.
“Winning a first trophy with Portugal was still missing on my CV. It was one of the most important moments of my life. I will obviously not forget about the Champions League win either.
“The difference is that Madrid are used to winning trophies, Portugal had never won a major trophy. I do not want to disrespect the Champions League, but winning the Euros with Portugal was something special, on another level.
“I must thank all my team-mates. You can imagine how proud I am to receive this magnificent trophy.
“What is more important, win a fifth one or win again with Portugal? I think both are important to me. I will try to give the best of myself, as every time.
“The team always comes first for me. I would not have won this trophy without Real Madrid and Portugal. But I would like to enjoy this moment today, I am very happy.”
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