Cristiano Ronaldo said winning FIFA’s Best Men’s Player for 2016 “shows that people aren’t blind” after beating Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to claim the prize in Zurich yesterday.
Ronaldo, who picked up his fourth Ballon d’Or in December, also landed the first separate FIFA prize since world football’s governing body and France Football announced in September that they would be presenting two separate awards.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player award is voted for by each of 211 nations comprising the national team captain, manager, and a journalist, and fans registered on FIFA.com — each group holding 25 percent of electoral weight — for a player’s performances from Nov. 20, 2015 to Nov. 22, 2016.
Ronaldo earned 34.54 percent of total votes while Messi finished second with 26.42 percent and Greizmann was third at 7.53 percent.
“I’d like to thank my team, national team, Real Madrid, my trainer, my family that came here, my son, my brothers,” Ronaldo said in accepting the award. “2016 was the best year of my career, the trophy shows that people aren’t blind and watch the games.”
“With everything I won with my national team and club, with great individual performance, I can’t forget this incredible year. Thanks for voting for me.”
“I don’t have much more to say, I think the awards speak for themselves. I’m not going to do the scream, just the motion.”
Five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi shone as Barca won the 2015-16 La Liga title, but the Argentina international was upstaged this year by Ronaldo, who won both the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid and Euro 2016 with Portugal in a stunning year.
Ronaldo scored 61 goals and registered 20 assists in 60 games for club and country during voting period (48 goals in 47 games for Real Madrid; 13 in 13 games for Portugal), while Messi netted 59 goals, 34 assists in 64 games (51 goals in 53 games for Barcelona; eight in 11 games for Argentina) and lost in the Copa America final to Chile.
France striker Griezmann finished as Euro 2016 top scorer, and for club and country scored 41 goals and bagged 13 assists in 69 games (33 goals in 54 games for Atletico Madrid; eight in 15 games for France).
Messi did not attend the ceremony as expected after Barcelona announced earlier in the day that all their players would not travel ahead of their game Wednesday in the Copa del Rey, a move that drew widespread criticism from those in Zurich.