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Ronaldo to bag 4th Ballon d’Or coronation

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 11th December, 2016 10:16:12 AM
  • Print news

Cristiano Ronaldo will bag his fourth Ballon d’Or as the world’s top footballer.

 

The Real Madrid and Portugal star won the Champions League for the second time in three seasons and third time overall after one title with Manchester United in 2008.

 

He then led Portugal to their first major title at Euro 2016 -- albeit he went off early through injury in the win over France.

 

His main rival will be Lionel Messi of Barcelona.

 

The Ballon d’Or will henceforth be decided by a vote of 173 journalists.

 

Argentina and Barcelona star Messi landed a record fifth crown last year.

 

A win will lift Ronaldo to within one award of Messi’s record haul of five.

 

Ronaldo first won the award in 2008 after Premier League and Champions League triumphs with Manchester United.

 

But it was only in 2013 he added his second and he made it a hattrick the following year.

 

The first Ballon d’Or was won by Stanley Matthews, at the time with Blackpool, who beat Alfredo Di Stefano for the inaugural title in 1956.

 

Up to 1994 only European players were eligible.

 

The first non-European to win it was the following year, AC Milan’s Liberian star George Weah.

 

From 2007 it honoured the world’s best player, with FIFA under former president Sepp Blatter entering into a deal with France Football in 2010 to merge the Ballon d’Or with FIFA’s best world player honour.