ZURICH (SW): Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has been crowned as FIFA’s Best Men’s Player for 2016.
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 on Monday. 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.
United States star Carli Lloyd was named Best Women's Player, the second straight year she has received FIFA's top honour.
According to the ESPN, the Best FIFA awards were voted for by the national team captain, manager, and a journalist, and fans registered on FIFA.com from each of 211 nations -- 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 Griezmann 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”, he was quoted.
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.
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.
Ronaldo, however, was more diplomatic, saying: "I understand, he has an important game on Wednesday."