Football

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed the FIFA Best Men's Player 2016 at an awards ceremony in Zurich.

Cristiano Ronaldo makes dig at Lionel Messi and Barcelona after claiming FIFA award

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Cristiano Ronaldo winning the FIFA Best Men's Player award capped off what has already been a trophy-laden month or so for the Portuguese, on a personal level at least.

The 31-year-old Real Madrid star was named the 2016 Ballon d'Or winner back in December, and pipped his rival, Lionel Messi, to the golden boot - securing the gong for the fourth time.

And virtually no one could dispute the forward winning both awards, following a year in which the Portugal international helped his country win their first major trophy while claiming the Champions League for an astonishing 11th time with Real Madrid.

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Regardless of Ronaldo and Messi appearing to getting on well, on a personal level, they are arguably the biggest rivals in world football when it comes to claiming the bragging rights on the field.

After the Real man became the first of the two stars to begin their domination of the Ballon d'Or since 2008, Messi went four consecutive years of claiming the golden ball, before back-to-back gongs for Ronaldo.

And when Messi reclaimed it back in 2015, Ronaldo was clearly as determined to win it back as ever.

The forward did so in sensational fashion, by proving his importance to his teams, at both club and international level, after his unforgettable touchline antics after going off injured in the Euro 2016 final.

Club and international legend

A leader, a legend, an icon and world-class footballer - that's how his fans, Portugal and Real Madrid will remember him. And when he went up to claim his award from FIFA on Monday night, Ronaldo couldn't stop himself from making a dig at Messi and Real's bitter rivals, Barcelona.

As per the Daily Mail, Ronaldo said: "I'm just very happy. I'm sorry some people from Barcelona aren't here, but that's understandable."

Real's all-time top goalscorer, who also won the Club World Cup and was named Europe's best player in 2016, was commenting on the fact that Messi was absent from the ceremony in Zurich.

FBL-FIFA-AWARDS

"This achievement is incredible on a personal level. Unbelievable, I will never forget this year. I am very happy." said Ronaldo.

"It's incredible, it's not the first time but it's the first of this. First and foremost I must thank my team-mates of Real Madrid and the coach. Thank you for everything you have done for me.

"I've also got to thank my family, my brothers, my mum, my whole staff 100 per cent for everything they've given me."

Overwhelming favourite

Ronaldo was the overwhelming favourite for the award, particularly after his unbelievable achievements in France, where the underdogs managed to claim a shock Euro 2016 title.

Meanwhile, for Messi - whose Barcelona side did not attend the awards with a second-leg last-16 Copa del Rey game against Athletic Bilbao just 48 hours away - it was a year to forget on the international front for the Argentinian.

The Argentina forward briefly retired from international football, having become disillusioned with his country's fortunes, after losing their second successive Copa America final to Chile, with the Barcelona star missing a penalty in the shootout.

Real Madrid CF v Granada CF - La Liga

But while Messi did get one over Ronaldo, by winning La Liga with the Catalan giants last campaign, there was no questioning the 31-year-old's chances of claiming January's award.

And Ronaldo assessed where he felt 2016 ranked during his illustrious playing career to date.

"2016 was the best year of my career," Ronaldo added. "I had a lot of doubts but at the end I think the trophies speak for themselves. I achieved the best I could in the competitions and after I won what I did."

The Real forward's attentions now return to helping Los Blancos to consolidate their place at the top of La Liga, with the club currently five points clear of Messi's Barcelona, who have played one game more than Zinedine Zidane's side.

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Topics:
La Liga
Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid
Karim Benzema
Lionel Messi
Football
Gareth Bale
Barcelona

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