Cristiano Ronaldo has emerged the 2017 Ballon d’Or winner. The Real Madrid star boy was on Thursday announced as the winner in a glitzy ceremony at the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
The Portugese superstar clinched the gong for a fifth time by finishing ahead of Lionel Messi and Neymar.
Ronaldo is now leveled with Barcelona’s Messi on five Ballon d’Ors following a 2016-17 season in which he won the Champions League and La Liga double with Real Madrid.
The 2017 winner was unveiled in a dramatic video which slowly zoomed in on a sparkling Eiffel Tower to reveal Ronaldo standing on the podium and holding up the trophy.
‘Of course, I feel happy. It’s a big moment in my career,’ Ronaldo said upon being presented with the award. ‘It’s something I hope to win every year. Thanks to my Real Madrid team-mates. And I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.’
Ronaldo was unveiled as the winner of the Ballon d’Or award as the superstar stood on a podium attached to the Eiffel Tower.
Ronaldo was later joined on stage by his mother Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr as his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez watched on from the audience.
David Ginola presented the show in Paris, with the Brazilian Ronaldo providing assistance, and handed the award over at the glamorous ceremony in the French capital.
Ronaldo came out on top in the ceremony as organisers France Football revealed the 32-year-old beat out competition from the 29 other nominees to win the award, which is voted for by a group of 173 journalists.
Barcelona’s Messi finished as runner-up to Ronaldo in what was the seventh consecutive year where the superstars have occupied the top two positions in the voting.
Neymar, who became the world’s most expensive player when he joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for £198million in August, came third. Juventus’ veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon finished fourth.
The Premier League’s highest placed player was Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante who finished eighth while Tottenham striker Harry Kane just sneaked into the top 10.
Ronaldo’s Madrid team-mates were also in the running, with Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Isco (12th), Marcelo (16th), Toni Kroos (17th) and Karim Benzema (25th) rounded off Los Blancos’ seven nominations for the award.
The camera drew closer and closer to Ronaldo who was standing on the Eiffel Tower which was lit up for the occasion
It is the latest individual award handed to Ronaldo after he was named FIFA’s The Best men’s player in London in October beating Messi and Neymar to the prize.
Ronaldo finished with 946 points in the voting system, which sees journalists select their first, second and third-placed selections.
The ceremony comes during a period when Ronaldo is struggling to recapture his best form for Madrid with just two La Liga goals so far this season for Los Blancos.
However his form in Europe has been much better and he became the first man to score in all six Champions League group stage games when he scored for Madrid in their 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.
Ronaldo and Messi have dominated the award over the past decade, sharing it for the past 10 seasons ever since AC Milan’s Brazilian midfielder Kaka won ahead of the pair at the 2007 ceremony.
Messi’s Ballon d’Ors came in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015 while Ronaldo has been more dominant in recent seasons by winning four of the last five awards to add to his 2008 triumph.
His fifth award means he and Messi are tied for most wins, with two more than any other player in history. Michael Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten were both awarded the gong three times – under it’s previous incarnation the European Footballer of the Year award.
AFCON 2019 QUALIFIER: Ahmed Musa, Ighalo, Awaziem Shoots Eagles To Victory Over Seychelles
Goals from Skipper Ahmed Musa, Chidozie Awaziem and Odion Jude Ighalo were all the Super Eagles needed to revive their hopes of qualifying for the 2019 African Cup of Nations slated to hold in Cameroon.
Gernot Rohr opted for the trio of Ighalo, Musa and Iheanacho to lead the team’s attack, while debutant Samuel Kalu, Wilfried Ndidi and Ogenyi Onazi were saddled with the midfield role.
The Nigerian side, who started the game on the front foot, broke the hosts’ resistance through Musa’s streamer, which beat Collins Esther after 15 minutes from kick off.
Portugal-based Awaziem doubled the lead from a tap in the 34th minute of the tie.
On resumption for the second half, Nigeria kept piling pressure on The Pirates of Seychelles.
They kept the momentum until Kalu was infringed on in the box and the referee awarded a spot kick to Nigeria.
Ighalo stepped up to convert the kick in the 57th minute as Nigeria maintained a comfortable lead.
Nigeria now has three points from two games in the qualifiers.
Messi Hails Ronaldo, Tips Juventus To Win Champions League Trophy
Barcelona ace, Lionel Messi has said that Juventus are clear favourites to win this season’s UEFA Champions League now that they have forward, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo left Madrid as their all-time highest goalscorer to join the Italian giants earlier this summer in a 100-million-euro deal.
Messi believes that Madrid is less strong without Ronaldo, adding that he was surprised by the Portuguese’s decision to leave the Santiago Bernabeu to joined Juve.
“Real Madrid is less strong without Cristiano Ronaldo in their squad, as obviously, he is one of the best in the world,” Messi told Catalunya Radio.
“Juventus are a clear favourite to win the Champions League now they have Cristiano Ronaldo. I was surprised by his decision, as I didn’t expect him to leave Madrid or go to Juventus. It’s a very good team.”
Messi added, “We’ve gone out in the quarter-finals for three years running and the last one was the most painful for the way it came about. We have to aim for the trophy because we can do it.
“We missed out because of details, in the Pep Guardiola era against Inter, and Chelsea. Other clubs are strong, have a lot of money and sign many players, like the two Manchesters, Chelsea, Real Madrid, PSG, various Italian clubs, they all have a lot of money.
“Plus when things don’t go our way, we struggle to react, as we did against Roma. We did not react the right way during the game.”
Nigeria vs Seychelles: Why I Invited Ighalo – Rohr
Despite criticism in some quarters over the inclusion of Odion Ighalo in the 28 players invited to prosecute the country’s September 7 Africa Cup of Nations’ qualifier against Seychelles in Victoria, Head Coach Gernot Rohr, has appeared unperturbed.
The German tactician has rather stuck to his decision as the national team gets set to open its camp in Abuja before jetting out for the September 7, away clash.
He noted that though Ighalo who last scored for the Eagles a year ago against Cameroon in Uyo, missed begging chances against Argentina in Russia which failed to impress some of the fans, he nonetheless deserves another opportunity to make amends.
He insisted that Ighalo still has a role to play in his formation to secure the maximum 3 point in the crucial duel adding that “this is an opportunity for him(Ighalo) prove his critics wrong.”
Rohr continued, “He has been scoring in China and he is very motivated to do so for the Super Eagles now.”
On Sunday, the 29-year-old striker scored his 16th goal in the Chinese Super League. The Nigerian international emerged the hero of Changchun Yatai after he scored the equaliser to make sure they didn’t lose at home to Hebei CFFC in a game which ended 2-2.
The former Watford striker who scored 15 goals for Changchun Yatai last season put a smile on the faces of Changchun Yatai fans as he scored in the 89th minute to level the goal margin.
A breakdown of the 28-man squad released on Friday showed that 24 players were listed as regulars, while four players were listed as stand-by, comprising Uche Agbo who plays for Standard Liege, Belgium, Eze Stephen who stars with Lokomotiv Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Musa Mohammed starring for Hnk Gorica, Croatia and Blessing Eleke.
The 24 invited players are goalkeepers Francis Uzoho (Deportivo La Coruna, Spain); Ikechukwu Ezenwa (Enyimba FC) and Daniel Akpeyi (Chippa United, South Africa).
Eight defenders were invited including Olaoluwa Aina (Torino FC, Italy); Semi Ajayi (Rotterdam United, England); Bryan Idowu (Lokomotiv Moscow, Russia); Chidozie Awaziem (FC Porto, Portugal); William Ekong (Udinese FC, Italy); Leon Balogun (Brighton & Hove Albion, England); Kenneth Omeruo (CD Leganes, Spain) and Jamilu Collins (SC Paderborn 07, Germany).
Rohr picked six midfielders comprising Ogenyi Onazi (Trabzonspor FC, Turkey); Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester City, England); Oghenekaro Etebo (Stoke City FC, England); John Ogu (Hapoel Be’er Sheva, Israel); Kelechi Nwakali (FC Porto, Portugal) and Joel Obi (AC Chievo Verona, Italy)
Ahmed Musa (Al Nassar FC, Saudi Arabia) leads the list of strikers which include Kelechi Iheanacho (Leicester City, England); Simeon Nwankwo (Crotone FC, Italy); Henry Onyekuru (Galatasaray SK, Turkey); Odion Ighalo (Changchun Yatai, China); Alex Iwobi (Arsenal FC, England) and Samuel Kalu (Bordeaux FC, France).
Team Administrator Dayo Enebi Achor revealed on Friday that the invited players are expected to fly directly to Seychelles, arriving on Monday, 3rd September, while the one player (goalkeeper Ikechukwu Ezenwa) and team officials travelling from Nigeria will fly into Victoria on Sunday, 2nd September.
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