Portuguese football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo won his fifth Ballon d’Or on Thursday, tying the record set by his Argentine long-time rival Lionel Messi.
Messi was placed second in the 2017 edition. The third place went to Brazil’s Neymar, who was transferred to Paris Saint-Germain for the world record fee of 222 million euros during the off-season.
Ronaldo received his trophy around 8 p.m. local time at an awarding ceremony held on the iconic Eiffel Tower.
“I feel happy. It’s a big moment in my career, and it’s something I hope to win every year,” said Ronaldo after receiving his record-equaling fifth trophy.
“Last year we had an amazing season in the Champions League and La Liga.
“I have to thank my team-mates, Real Madrid and the rest of the people who helped me to be in great shape throughout the season.”
Founded in 1956 by France Football magazine, Ballon d’Or honors the player with the best performance over the previous year based on voting by football journalists. It was merged with FIFA World Player of the Year into FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2010, before the two awards were separated in 2016.
Ronaldo took away the Ballon d’Or in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016. He also became the FIFA World Player of the Year for the fifth time in October.
“The trophies won last year helped me win this award. I want to thank the Real Madrid teammates, and the rest of people who helped me reach this level,” he added.
Ronaldo spearheaded Real Madrid to claim both Champions League and La Liga titles for the first time in 59 years. The Spanish club was also the first to have defended the title in Champions League era.
Ronaldo and Messi combined to sweep the honor since 2008, with Brazil’s Kaka the last winner in 2007.
France Football began to reveal the rankings from bottom up around 4 p.m. through its website. 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who joined PSG this season on loan with an expected fee of 180 million euros in the future, ranked 7th with his sensational performance throughout the year.
Italian veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon found his place on fourth, with Ronaldo’s club teammates Luka Modric and Sergio Ramos ranked fifth and sixth respectively.