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Friday 14 December 2018

Cristiano Ronaldo clinches Best Fifa Men’s Player Award for second consecutive year

Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo gestures with the trophy after winning The Best FIFA Men's Player of 2017 Award during The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony, on October 23, 2017 in London.
Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo gestures with the trophy after winning The Best FIFA Men's Player of 2017 Award during The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony, on October 23, 2017 in London.
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Best Fifa Men’s Player Award for the second consecutive year while Lieke Martens was crowned women's player of the year.

The Portugese was tipped to clinch the accolade after another remarkable year scoring 44 goals for club and country in 2017.

Ronaldo saw off competition from Lionel Messi and Neymar to remain the only player in the world to have won the award, after he also triumphed in its inaugural outing in January.

It took the 32-year-old's dazzling season, which saw him inspire Real Madrid to win the La Liga/Champions League double, to sway the judges. The win serves as yet another reminder that the forward has still not passed his peak.

Martens picked up the Fifa award after winning the European Championship with the Netherlands.

The 24-year-old winger was part of the Dutch team that beat Denmark in the final in August, scoring once.

She beat Carli Lloyd of the United States and Deyna Castellanos of Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud won the Fifa Puskas Award for goal of the year.

Giroud's stunning 'scorpion-kick' scored against Crystal Palace in January beat off competition from Venezuela's Deyna Castellanos and South African goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.

The Frenchman's effort, a flicked volley with his left foot that flew in off the crossbar, was announced as the winner at a ceremony held at the London Palladium on Monday.

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 l'd just like to thank the people who voted for me. I would like to congratulate the 10 nominees who scored amazing goals too.

"Obviously I would like to thank my team-mates, without them I couldn't score maybe this goal, and my family."

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte was shortlisted for men's coach of the year but the Italian, who lifted the Premier League title in his first season in England, lost out to Zinedine Zidane.

Zidane became the first ever coach to win back-to-back Champions League titles as Real Madrid beat Juventus in the final in May. He also led Los Blancos to their first La Liga title in five years. Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri was also shortlisted.

The Italian club boasted their own winner in London, however, as their goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon won the best goalkeeper prize.

Buffon guided Juve to a sixth consecutive Serie A title and managed 600 Champions League minutes without conceding a goal.

The 39-year-old held off competition from 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."

There was no Premier League player in the FifPro World XI.

Buffon was the goalkeeper selected while Paris St Germain's Dani Alves and AC Milan's Leonardo Bonucci were picked in defence, along with Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Marcelo.

Madrid's Luka Modric and Toni Kroos were included in midfield, together with Barcelona playmaker Andres Iniesta.

The three nominees for the Men's Player Award - Ronaldo, Messi of Barcelona and Neymar of PSG - took the three attacking spots.

Celtic supporters won the Fan Award, recognising their celebrations in May for the 50th anniversary of the club winning the European Cup.

Fans at Celtic Park held up coloured cards that spelled out 'Lisbon Lions' in tribute to Celtic's 1967 triumph over Inter Milan in the Portuguese capital.

The women's coach category was won by Holland boss Sarina Wiegman, who led the Dutch national team to the Euro 2017 title on home soil, while the Fair Play Award went to Francis Kone.

Kone saved the life of goalkeeper Martin Berkovec, who almost suffocated by swallowing his tongue during a Czech league match in February.

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