Cristiano Ronaldo has been named the best player in Europe by France Football magazine, capturing the Ballon d’Or for the fourth time in his career. He beat out Lionel Messi and Atlético Madrid star Antoine Griezmann, who finished in second and third place.
The Ballon d’Or is a calendar year award, not a season award. This doesn’t make any sense, but FIFA and France Football continue to operate this way for unknown reasons. The format helped Ronaldo, who had a rough first half of last season, but a spectacular second half once the new year turned over, guiding Real Madrid to the Champions League title. Ronaldo was also named to the best XI at Euro 2016 as he helped Portugal become European champions for the first time ever.
In the calendar year 2016, Ronaldo has scored 51 goals, including 13 in 13 appearances for Portugal.
This is not the same award that Ronaldo and Messi have been fighting for over the last six years. The FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or were separate awards until 2010, when they merged. FIFA and France Football — who started the Ballon d’Or — opted not to renew their partnership for this season. The Best FIFA men’s player, as the biggest individual award in the game is now known, will be named in January.