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Cristiano Ronaldo Wins Ballon d’Or For a Fourth Time, Beats Merci

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Cristiano Ronaldo beats Lionel Messi to win Ballon d'Or 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo beats Lionel Messi to win Ballon d’Or 2016

Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid superstar has won the Ballon d’Or for a fourth time on Monday night, beating Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann to the award.

This latest honour caps a memorable year that saw Ronaldo lead Real Madrid to an unprecedented 11th Champions League title before inspiring Portugal to the European Championship in France – the country’s first major footballing trophy.

The 31-year-old forward, who previously won the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014, becomes only the second player to win football’s top individual prize repeatedly, after Barcelona’s Messi who has scooped the gong on five occasions.

Soccer, Euro 2016, Portugal, Iceland, Cristiano Ronaldo

Soccer, Euro 2016, Portugal, Iceland, Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo raked in 51 goals in 54 games for club and country in 2016, and says it all boils down to hard work.

“It is a special moment. It means that all my sacrifice was worth it. I feel very happy to win this. I worked very hard,” Ronaldo said in a video while accepting the award.

“A lot of people helped me get here, and it is not easy to get here. You can count on one hand players who maintain this level year after year. I am one of them, and that is a source of pride for me.”

Ronaldo and his Real Madrid teammates are presently in Japan for the 2016 Fifa Club World Cup.