ZURICH, SWITZERLAND (JANUARY 9, 2017) (FIFA/INFRONT) – Cristiano Ronaldo won FIFA’s rebranded player of the year award on Monday (January 9), beating off his old rival Lionel Messi who was pulled out of the ceremony only a few hours earlier by his club Barcelona.
The 31-year-old Ronaldo was rewarded for a year in which he won the Champions League with his club Real Madrid and then Euro 2016 with Portugal. Argentine Messi was second in the vote and Frenchman Antoine Griezmann third.
Messi missed the ceremony along with all other Barcelona players who had been invited.
“With the aim of prioritising preparations for Wednesday’s game against Athletic Club, FC Barcelona have decided that the players recognised in the awards will not be travelling to Switzerland for the ceremony,” said the club in a statement.
Elsewhere, U.S. and Houston Dash midfielder Carli Lloyd won women’s player of the year whilst the Puskas award for best goal went to Malaysian forward Mohd Faiz Subri for his long-range curling free-kick.