Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with the trophy after winning the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year in Zurich on Monday. Picture: REUTERS/RUBEN SPRICH
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates with the trophy after winning the FIFA Men’s Player of the Year in Zurich on Monday. Picture: REUTERS/RUBEN SPRICH

Zurich — Cristiano Ronaldo claimed Fifa’s inaugural best player of the year award on Monday, the latest prize for the Real Madrid and Portugal star after a glittering 2016 for club and country.

Leicester City’s Claudio Ranieri received the best men’s coach award following his side’s Premier League triumph.

But the night again belonged to the 31-year-old Ronaldo, who edged out long-time nemesis Lionel Messi for the trophy as well as France’s Antoine Griezmann, top player at this summer’s European championship.

Ronaldo had already won the Ballon d’Or after his third Champions League title, thanks in major part to his 16 goals in 12 games, as well as winning with Portugal at Euro 2016 — the country’s first major prize.

"2016 was the best year of my career," Ronaldo said after being handed the prize.

"It was a year that was magnificent at a personal level and at a sports level," he said.

Ranieri, 65, said the best coach honour was "incredible" after receiving the prize from Argentine football legend Diego Maradona.

Under Ranieri’s leadership, Leicester pulled off one of the greatest shocks in English football history by defying title odds of 5,000-1 to lift the Premier League trophy last season.

AFP

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