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Ronaldo wins fourth Ballon d'Or

Updated: 12 13 , 2016 15:13
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PARIS, Dec. 12 -- Cristiano Ronaldo has been named winner of the Ballon d'Or by France Football magazine for a fourth time on Monday.

The Real Madrid and Portugal striker beat out arch-rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona for the coveted award, as well as the likes of Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Ronaldo, who moves within one of Messi's record of winning five times, was the overwhelming favorite after being voted for by 173 journalists from around the world, while 11 of the 30 nominees receiving zero vote.

The 31-year-old has scored a total of 102 goals in 110 appearances for club and country throughout the calendar year, helping Real win the Champions League in May and Portugal triumph over hosts France for Euro 2016 in July.

Absent from Monday evening's ceremony in Paris, Ronaldo, who's currently on Club World Cup duty with Real in Japan, made his acceptance speech through a pre-recorded footage.

"For me it's a great honor to receive my fourth golden ball," said the Portuguese. "The emotion is like for the first one, it's a dream come true again. I never thought in my mind to win four times. I'm so happy."

"I take the opportunity to thank all my teammates, from the national team and for Real Madrid. I feel so proud and happy," added Ronaldo, who won the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014.

The Real superstar first won the award in 2008 after Premier League and Champions League triumphs with Manchester United, but it's not until 2013 when he added his second.

Messi had hogged it four years in a row in 2009-2012, before Ronaldo made it a hat-trick the following year.

The first Ballon d'Or was won by Stanley Matthews, at the time with Blackpool, who beat Alfredo Di Stefano for the inaugural title in 1956.

Earlier this year, France Football and FIFA announced to part ways on the year-end award issue after having joined hands for five years.

FIFA are due to announce their choice of World Player of the Year for both male and female footballers on January 9 with national team captains and managers have votes.

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