Ballon d’Or 2016
Cristiano Ronaldo was awarded the Ballon d’Or 2016 on Monday for the best footballer in the past year. This is the fourth time he has received the Ballon d’Or award, having previously won it in 2008, 2013 and 2014. He beat his La Liga rivals Lionel Messi (FC Barcelona and Argentina) and Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid and France). The prestigious award is given annually by the French Football Association. He is now second on the list of players with most number of wins, behind only his perennial rival Lionel Messi, who won the award last year for a record fifth time.
The win capped off a glorious year for Ronaldo in which he won the two premier competitions: the UEFA Champions League with his club Real Madrid C.F. and the UEFA Euro 2016 in France with the Portuguese national team. Interestingly, Griezmann ended up on the losing side in both finals. His only solace was receiving the Golden Boot award at the Euros.
Now in his thirties, Ronaldo has tweaked his game to become an outright goal-scoring machine. The stepovers and skill moves have become a thing of the past. Even his explosive pace has waned over the past couple of seasons. But the inevitability of age has not affected his productivity in front of goal. In fact, the past season was the sixth consecutive one in which he scored 50 or more goals.
The Messi-Ronaldo show goes on
The win also extended the streak of the award being shared between Ronaldo and Messi to nine years. It would not be surprising to see one of them winning the award next year as these two stalwarts would be in contention for trophies on multiple fronts. Football fans worldwide may have a favourite of their own. The truth, however, is that we have been blessed to witness the two of them in the same era going toe-to-toe against each other. As the old adage goes, let us enjoy it till it lasts.