Thursday 21 September 2017

Victorious Ronaldo disappointed by Messi absence

Ronaldo: World player of the year. Photo: Getty
Ronaldo: World player of the year. Photo: Getty

Brian Homewood

Cristiano Ronaldo hailed 2016 as "the best year of my career" after being crowned the world's leading player at the inaugural Best FIFA Football Awards in Zurich.

Ronaldo, who led Portugal to the Euro 2016 title as well as winning the Champions League with Real Madrid, beat fellow shortlisted candidates Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to claim the prize.

The award comes one month after the 31-year-old also pipped Argentinian rival Messi to win his fourth Ballon d'Or title.

Barcelona said that tomorrow's game against Athletic Bilbao would take priority over the ceremony and that none of their invited players would travel, which disappointed Ronaldo.

"I would like Messi to have been here today but they have an important game on Wednesday and we can understand that," he said.

"I don't have much more to say, I think the awards speak for themselves," he added. "I'm very happy and I can say that 2016 was the best year of my career, the trophy shows that people aren't blind and watch the games."

The award, voted for by a combination of national team captains and managers, journalists and fans, was inaugurated after FIFA ended its association with the Ballon d'Or last year.

FIFA, which organised the award jointly with France Football magazine from 2010 to 2015 when it was named the Ballon d'Or, rebranded it as 'The Best' this year after splitting with the French publication.

Leicester boss Claudio Ranieri won the coach of the year title in recognition for leading the Foxes to their improbable Premier League triumph. Ranieri, who beat Portugal coach Fernando Santos and Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane to win the prize, said: "I think what happened in England last season was amazing, something strange.

"My age is 65 and I start now to make a manager," he joked.

Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund shared the fan award for their joint rendition of You'll Never Walk Alone during their Europa League clash at Anfield in April last year.

And the FIFA Fair Play Award went to Colombian club Atletico Nacional, who requested the 2016 Copa Sudamericana title be awarded to Chapecoense following their tragic plane crash en route to the final.

Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd was voted women's player of the year, while Germany coach Silvia Neid pipped England-born United States manager Jill Ellis to the women's coach award.

No Premier League players were voted into the FIFPro World XI, with Real Madrid leading the way with five representatives.

FIFPro World XI: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich); Dani Alves (Juventus), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Marcelo (Real Madrid); Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona); Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Luis Suarez (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).

Irish Independent

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