PARIS – Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or award as soccer’s best player of the year for a record-equaling fifth time, moving him level with Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
Ronaldo won the trophy awarded by France Football magazine at a ceremony held at the Eiffel Tower on Thursday. He finished ahead of contenders Messi and Neymar, who left Barcelona in the offseason to join Paris Saint-Germain for a world record transfer fee of $262 million.
Ronaldo was shown on television receiving the award while making the sign of five with his left hand as held the trophy in his right. It was not immediately announced which player had finished runner-up behind him.
“Of course, I feel happy, it’s a big moment in my career,” Ronaldo said. “It’s something I hope to win every year.”
The 32-year-old Portugal forward also took home the Ballon d’Or prize in 2013 and 2014, and in 2008 when playing for Manchester United.
Messi won it from 2009-12 and again in 2015.
Ronaldo claimed it back last year after helping Portugal win the European Championship and starring for Madrid as it won the Champions League. Last season he won the Champions League once again and played a key role as Madrid won the Spanish league title for the first time since 2012.
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