Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo crowned Men's Player of the Year winner at FIFA The Best Awards

Sport360 staff 24/10/2017

Cristiano Ronaldo’s stunning last season saw him win the 2017 Best FIFA men’s player of the year trophy as Real Madrid dominated a star-studded awards ceremony in London on Monday.

The Portuguese ace, who has scored 44 goals in just 48 games for club and country so far this calendar year, played a major role in Real winning both La Liga and the Champions League.

He scored twice in a 4-1 win over Juventus in the continental final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on June 3.

Real boss Zinedine Zidane took the corresponding manager of the year award, with the Spanish giants providing five players in the FIFA team of the year.

Ronaldo won the inaugural Best FIFA men’s player of the year award last year following the end of a six-year merger between the FIFA honour and the Ballon D’Or.

This year he saw off competition from longstanding Barcelona rival Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, with former Manchester United favourite Ronaldo receiving his trophy from Argentina great Diego Maradona and Brazil’s Ronaldo in a star-studded ceremony at the London Palladium theatre.

“Thanks a lot for voting for me,” said the Portuguese superstar.

“I mention Leo and Neymar, great to be here. Real Madrid supporters, my team-mates, my coach, they all support me all year.

“We are in England for the first time and I win consecutive awards,” he added. “I am really glad, this is a great moment for me. I have fans all over the world.”

Zidane won out ahead of Chelsea’s Antonio Conte and Juventus’s Massimiliano Allegri to be crowned men’s coach of the year after becoming the first man to oversee a successful defence of the European Cup in the Champions League era.

“I’d like to thank all of the players for making this possible,” said Zidane. “This is a very special prize.”

Real’s superb campaign was recognised in a FIFA XI that featured Ronaldo and club-mates Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos.

The team was completed by goalkeeper of the year Gianluigi Buffon, Leonardo Bonucci, Dani Alves, Andres Iniesta, Messi and Neymar.

Veteran Juventus and Italy shot-stopper Buffon topped a three-strong shortlist for the goalkeeper award ahead of Real’s Keylor Navas and Bayern Munich’s Manuel Neuer.

“I have to speak in English, it is a difficult moment,” said the 39-year-old Buffon.

“It is a great honour to receive this award at my age. I am proud.

“The last year has been fantastic for Juventus and for me personally. It wasn’t enough to win in Europe.

“I would like to finish with a fantastic victory for Italy next summer (at the 2018 World Cup in Russia).”

Monday also saw the Puskas Award for the best goal of 2017 go to Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud.

The France striker received the award named in honour of Hungary great Ferenc Puskas for a spectacular ‘scorpion-kick’ against Crystal Palace in January.

“I’m delighted to receive this trophy today in front of legends of football,” said Giroud.

The Frenchman’s flicked volley with his left foot that went in off the crossbar won ahead of goals from Venezuela’s Deyna Castellanos, 18, and South African goalkeeper Oscarine Masuluke.

Meanwhile tournament hosts the Netherlands’ achievement in winning their first major female football title, the 2017 Women’s European Championship, was recognised with Women’s Coach of the Year and Player of the Year awards for Sarina Wiegman and Lieke Martens respectively.

Wiegman and Martens were unable to receive their awards in London as the Netherlands are playing Norway on Tuesday.

The voting for the Best FIFA awards, equally weighted between national team captains, national team coaches, media and fans, closed last month.

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Cristiano Ronaldo will retire as one of the three best players ever, says Rio Ferdinand

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Ferdinand and Ronaldo are still close friends.

Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand is adamant former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo could play for another decade given the meticulous attention he pays to the physical side of the game.

The former Red Devils centre-back, who travelled to Madrid to interview Ronaldo at his home earlier this month for Nike, believes the Real Madrid icon still has plenty of years left in him at the highest level of the game – despite the fact he turns 33 in February.

Ferdinand lined up for six trophy-laden seasons with Ronaldo at Old Trafford under Sir Alex Ferguson – and knows better than most how the four-time FIFA Ballon d’Or winner still remains close to the peak of his powers.

“When you speak to him you think he can play for another ten years, the way he talks about his future,” the 38-year-old told Sport360 at the launch of the 30-day Dubai Fitness Challenge.

“He’s so confident in himself because he doesn’t leave anything to chance, especially fitness. In his preparation work, he takes care of everything better than I’ve ever seen in football.

“To be so elite, stay there and be as good as he has for so long, you have to be serious with your lifestyle and fitness. He’s done that.”

While Ferdinand played with and against plenty of world-class talent in a stellar career which almost spanned two decades, he rates Ronaldo above anyone else and says the Whites No.7 is well in the debate over who is the greatest player of all time.

He said: “Cristiano will go down when he retires as one of the best three players to have ever played the game, he’s right up there. Of course he has natural talent but his work ethic matches many men.”

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Cristiano Ronaldo's first manager says striker is destined to stay at Real Madrid

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Los Blancos legend: Ronaldo.

The man who launched Cristiano Ronaldo’s career says the Portuguese striker won’t leave Real Madrid.

Laszlo Bolini, the manager who gave Ronaldo his first-team debut at Sporting Lisbon, believes any move away from Madrid would be a step down.

“I hope that Ronaldo never decides towards the end of his career to drop back down to a level he hasn’t played at for a very, very long time – a level which could only cause him harm,” the current Royal Antwerp manager said.

“I think he should, and will, finish his career at Real Madrid.”

Bolini became Sporting coach in 2001; that year, Ronaldo made his debut across various different youth categories at the club, before making his first-team debut the same season. His manager treated his star pupil with caution, moving him out wide to protect him.

“I moved him out to the wing because coming up against two 90kg centre-backs would have been a little too much for a boy of 16 or 17. Plus, he was better able to exploit his qualities out wide, without losing his effectiveness.”

Sir Alex Ferguson followed suit at Manchester United, where Ronaldo became one of the world’s best wingers, although in his later years at the club he was occasionally deployed as a striker as well, and he’s grown into an explosive player at that position.

“Today, he’s free to go where he wants,” Bolini says.

Since his Lisbon days, the Portuguese star has gone onto achieve greatness, and is the frontrunner to win FIFA’s Best Men’s Player for a second straight year. The award will be announced on Monday, and Boloni says that although he has the greatest respect for Lionel Messi, he hopes Ronaldo wins the gong.

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