London: Cristiano Ronaldo has caught up with Lionel Messi to become a five-time winner of FIFA’s best player award.
The Real Madrid forward was crowned player of the year on Monday at the FIFA Best ceremony at the London Palladium theater attended by runner-up Messi and third-placed Neymar.
A second successive honor for Ronaldo was expected after a season in which the Portuguese eclipsed his award counterparts in the trophy stakes.
As well as Spanish league and Spanish Super Cup success, Ronaldo scored twice in the Champions League final against Juventus to win European football’s elite competition for the third time in four seasons.
Ronaldo’s coach at Madrid, Zinedine Zidane, was crowned coach of the year.
FIFA has shifted its award ceremony from its usual January slot to October so players are judged across a season — based on the typical European schedule — rather than the calendar year.
The women’s award honored the Netherlands’ success at the European Championship in August. Lieke Martens, who scored in the final win over Denmark, won the player’s award and Sarina Wiegman collected the coaching accolade.
The 24-year-old Martens 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.
The Puskas Award for best goal went to Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud for a scorpion-style kick. The Puskas Award-winning goal from an overhead back-heeled strike came on New Year’s Day in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the English Premier League.
The team of the 2016-17 season voted by football players was also announced at the ceremony.
Gianluigi Buffon of Italy and Juventus was named as the goalkeeper. In defence, Dani Alves (Brazil, Juventus/currently Paris Saint-Germain), Leonardo Bonucci (Italy, Juventus/currently AC Milan), Sergio Ramos (Spain, Real Madrid) and Marcelo (Brazil, Real Madrid) made the cut.
The midfield features Real Madrid duo Luka Modric (Croatia), and Toni Kroos (Germany), and Andres Iniesta of Spain and Barcelona while up front, it’s Lionel Messi (Argentina, Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal, Real Madrid) and Neymar (Brazil, Barcelona/currently Paris Saint-Germain).
Some 26,622 players from 71 countries participated in the vote organised by world player’s union FIFPro.