• Algeria’s Mahrez wins BBC AFOTY 2016 award
BY JOE APU
Cristiano Ronaldo on Monday night was announced as the 2016 Ballon d’Or winner for the second straight year.
The Real Madrid and Portugal forward was awarded FIFA’s top individual honour over Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
Ronaldo, 29, took home the award for the third time in his career, after also winning it in 2008. He and Messi have been the only players to receive the award since then, with the Argentine earning the honour for four straight years from 2009 to 2012.
The Portuguese earned 37.66 percent of the votes, while Messi edged Neuer, 15.76 to 15.72 percent, for runner-up.
“I would like to thank all of those who voted for me,” Ronaldo said as he accepted the award. “It has been an incredible year. I would like to continue the work that I have done so far. I want to try to improve, to become better as each day goes by.
“I never thought that I would bring this trophy back home on three occasions. I want to become one of the greatest players of all time. Of course, this requires a lot of effort and I hope to get there.”
Ronaldo scored 61 goals last year for club and country and set a record by scoring 17 times in last season’s Champions League, guiding Madrid to their 10th title, the long-awaited La Decima. He scored twice in the semifinals against Bayern Munich and the crowning goal in the final against Atletico Madrid.
In a similar development, Riyad Mahrez was crowned the BBC African Footballer of the Year 2016.
Fans from across the world voted for the Algeria and Leicester midfielder ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Andre Ayew, Sadio Mane and Yaya Toure.
Winger Mahrez, 25, told BBC Sport: “It means a lot; it’s something big for African players so I am very happy, I am very proud.