Cristiano Ronaldo beats Rival Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to clinch his 4th Ballon d’or .

The 31-year-old is now one behind Barcelona’s Messi, who took the honour for a fifth time last year.

Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win last season’s Champions League and scored three goals as Portugal won Euro 2016.

He has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016, with Messi the only other recipient of the award since winning it for the first time in 2009.

“I never thought in my mind that I would win the Golden Ball four times. I am pleased. I feel so proud and happy,” said Ronaldo.

“I have the opportunity to thank all of my team-mates, the national team, Real Madrid, all of the people and players who helped me to win this individual award.”

The former Manchester United forward has scored 19 goals in 20 games for club and country this term, to add to the 54 he got last season.

 Previous Ballon d’or Winners : 

1956 Stanley Matthews (Blackpool)

1957 Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid)

1958 Raymond Kopa (Real Madrid)

1959 Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid)

1960 Luis Suarez (Barcelona) 

1961 Omar Sivori (Juventus)

1962 Josef Masopust (Dukla Prague)

1963 Lev Yashin (Dynamo Moscow)

1964 Denis Law (Manchester United)

1965 Eusebio (Benfica)

1966 Bobby Charlton (Manchester United)

1967 Florian Albert (Ferencvaros)

1968 George Best (Manchester United) 

1969 Gianni Rivera (AC Milan) 

1970 Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich)

1971 Johan Cruyff (Ajax) 

1972 Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich)

1973 Johan Cruyff (Barcelona)

1974 Johan Cruyff (Barcelona) 

1975 Oleg Blokhin (Dynamo Kyiv)

1976 Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich)

1977 Allan Simonsen (Borussia Monchengladbach)

1978 Kevin Keegan (Hamburg)

1979 Kevin Keegan (Hamburg) 

1980 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich)

1981 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich) 

1982 Paolo Rossi (Juventus)

1983 Michel Platini (Juventus)

1984 Michel Platini (Juventus)

1985 Michel Platini (Juventus) 

1986 Igor Belanov (Dynamo Kyiv)

1987 Ruud Gullit (AC Milan)

1988 Marco van Basten (AC Milan) 

1989 Marco van Basten (AC Milan) 

1990 Lothar Matthaus (Internazionale) 

1991 Jean-Pierre Papin (Marseille)

1992 Marco van Basten (AC Milan)

1993 Roberto Baggio (Juventus)

1994 Hristo Stoichkov (Barcelona)

1995 George Weah (AC Milan)

1996 Matthias Sammer (Borussia Dortmund)

1997 Ronaldo (Internazionale)

1998 Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)

1999 Rivaldo (Barcelona)

2000 Luis Figo (Real Madrid) 

2001 Michael Owen (Liverpool) 

2002 Ronaldo (Real Madrid) 

2003 Pavel Nedved (Juventus)

2004 Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

2005 Ronaldinho (Barcelona)

2006 Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid)

2007 Kaka (AC Milan)

2008 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)

2009 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2010 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2011 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2012 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

2013 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2014 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)

2015 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale finished sixth in the vote, while Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy – the only Englishman included on the 30-player shortlist – was eighth.

The Ballon d’Or is voted for by 173 journalists from around the world.

It has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956, but for the past six years it became the Fifa Ballon d’Or in association with world football’s governing body and was awarded to the world’s best player.

However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September.

Fifa will hand out its own prize for the world’s best men’s player, along with the best women’s player and team of the year, at the Best Fifa Football Awards ceremony in Zurich on 9 January.

Manchester United also had two players in the top 17, with Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic 13th and French midfielder Paul Pogba, who became the world’s most expensive player when he joined the Red Devils from Juventus for £89m, 14th.

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