Cristiano Ronaldo secures footballing prize so tough Barcelona's Lionel Messi has never won

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Cristiano Ronaldo has won everything there is to win in football.

We say that because the Juventus superstar has now secured one of the toughest accolades to get your hands on in the beautiful game, adding to his remarkable tally of gongs and plaques thus far.

Besides, coming into 2020, Ronaldo boasted a staggering roll call of five Ballon d'Or trophies, five Champions League medals, four European Golden Shoes and seven major European league titles.

Golden Foot award

That's well and good, but Ronaldo might now consider the 'Golden Foot' award as one of his most prestigious, having become just the 18th recipient of a prize that is infamously difficult to win.

The award is described on its official website as a "prestigious lifetime achievement award attributed every year to the greatest in the history of world football."

The international football prize was inaugurated in 2003 and is presented to active players who are at least 28 years old.

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Ronaldo wins 2020 prize

Players can only win the award once and each recipient is first selected amongst 10 nominees by a panel of worldwide journalists, before emerging victorious in an online poll by football fans.

The winners are then invited to leave a permanent mould of their footprints on 'The Champions Promenade' on the seafront in Monaco.

In other words, Ronaldo has found himself amongst esteemed company having ousted fellow nominees such as Mohamed Salah, Robert Lewandowski and Neymar to the 2020 instalment.

It's astonishing to think that it's taken so long for Ronaldo to have been awarded the gong, which has also evaded Lionel Messi, considering he has now been eligible for approaching a decade.

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Exclusive club of 18 winners

And while we expect his Barcelona rival to follow in his footsteps before he retires, let it underline just how tough the award is to win when the world-beating pair have been made to wait so long.

So, who has been beating them to it? Well, per the official 'Golden Football' gallery of winners, here are the exclusive club of 18 footballers to have received this most-elusive of acknowledgements:

2003 - Roberto Baggio

2004 - Pavel Nedved

2005 - Andriy Shevchenko

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2006 - Ronaldo Nazario

2007 - Alessandro del Piero

2008 - Roberto Carlos

2009 - Ronaldinho

2010 - Francesco Totti 

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2011 - Ryan Giggs

2012 - Zlatan Ibrahimovic

2013 - Didier Drogba

2014 - Andres Iniesta

2015 - Samuel Eto'o

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2016 - Gianluigi Buffon

2017 - Iker Casillas

2018 - Edinson Cavani

2019 - Luka Modric

2020 - Cristiano Ronaldo

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No prize for Messi so far

It's pretty crazy to think that Ibrahimovic, Cavani and Modric all won the award at a much younger age than Ronaldo.

Don't get us wrong, it's pretty obvious that Ronaldo and his incredible physique will keep going on for years, but the voters were playing a dangerous game denying the Juve superstar for so long.

Besides, it's clear that the website's visitors have been taking the longevity of players into consideration, so hopefully they won't dilly-dally when it comes to giving Messi his due praise.

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The 'Golden Foot' is a curious example of a major footballing accolade at the best of times, never mind if it were to continue without having ever crowned arguably the greatest player of them all.

Then again, depending on your opinion, they might just have avoided that eventuality by permanently giving Ronaldo's magical feet a home on the shores of the Mediterranean.

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