Cristiano Ronaldo beats Messi to win Ballon d’Or 2016

Portugal and Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten his biggest rival Lionel Messi to win the prestigious 2016 Ballon d’Or award.

 The 31-year-old wins the coveted award for the fourth time in his illustrious career.

However, the Euro 2016 winner is an award shy of Lionel Messi as the Argentine has won the award for the fifth time.

The great goal-scorer helped Real Madrid win last season’s Champions League and scored three goals to propel Portugal to a memorable triumph at the Euro 2016 in France.

He has now won the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016, with Messi the only other recipient of the award since winning it for the first time in 2009.

“I never thought in my mind that I would win the Golden Ball four times. I am pleased. I feel so proud and happy,” said Ronaldo.

“I have the opportunity to thank all of my team-mates, the national team, Real Madrid, all of the people and players who helped me to win this individual award.”

The former Manchester United star has been influential for Real Madrid in Europe this season after helping the Spanish giants to go the season without tasting defeat and scoring 19 goals in 20 games for club and country.

Ronaldo is the only football player since inception to have won the FIFA Ballon Ballon d’Or while playing in England – during his spell with Manchester United.