Cristiano Ronaldo wins 2016 Ballon d'Or, Lionel Messi settle for 2nd as Jamie Vardy and Gareth Bale make top 10.
Cristiano Ronaldo crowned a memorable year by being named the world's best player for a fourth time when he won the 2016 Ballon d'Or on Monday night.
Ronaldo played a crucial role as Real beat city rivals Atletico Madrid in May to become European champions for a record-extending 11th time.
Then two months later, Portugal triumphed at Euro 2016 in France to claim a major trophy for the first time - despite losing their talisman to injury early on in the final.
Ronaldo, who has so far scored 48 goals in 52 games for club and country during 2016, was not able to accept the award in person with the forward currently away in Japan as Real Madrid prepare for the FIFA Club World Cup.
The 31-year-old has previously won the Ballon d'Or three times, the last in 2014 when it had been merged with the FIFA World Player of the Year accolade.
Commenting on his triumph, Ronaldo said:
"I never thought in my mind to win four times the Golden Ball, so I am so pleased and so happy.France Football announced Ronaldo as the winner at 7pm GMT, but it had revealed the top five before the countdown.
"I have the opportunity to thank all of my team-mates, the national team, Real Madrid, all of the people and players who helped me to win this individual award.
"As you can imagine I feel so proud and happy to receive this amazing and beautiful ball, I am so happy."
Ronaldo's Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale, who helped drive Wales to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, was voted in sixth place.
Some 30 players in all were put forward on the 2016 Ballon d'Or finals list, which included several players based in the English Premier League.
Leicester's title winning striker Jamie Vardy was put into the top 10 as the English forward finished in eighth place with midfielder Riyad Mahrez, the PFA Player of the Year, ranked seventh.
Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba became the world's most expensive player when he joined Manchester United from Juventus for £89million in the summer, and the France international placed 14th.
Sweden forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic also headed to Old Trafford when he left Paris St Germain on a free transfer. The veteran 35-year-old striker finished in 13th position of the journalists' poll following his tally of some 40 goals in 2016.
West Ham's French playmaker Dimitri Payet ranked joint 17th.
Also included among the nominees were Manchester City pair Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne, along with Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Let's take a quick look at the historical list of the Ballon d'Or winners.
Ballon D'or Complete Winners List.
- 1956 Stanley Matthews (Blackpool)
- 1957 Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid)
- 1958 Raymond Kopa (Real Madrid)
- 1959 Alfredo Di Stefano (Real Madrid)
- 1960 Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
- 1961 Omar Sivori (Juventus)
- 1962 Josef Masopust (Dukla Prague)
- 1963 Lev Yashin (Dynamo Moscow)
- 1964 Denis Law (Manchester United)
- 1965 Eusebio (Benfica)
- 1966 Bobby Charlton (Manchester United)
- 1967 Florian Albert (Ferencvaros)
- 1968 George Best (Manchester United)
- 1969 Gianni Rivera (AC Milan)
- 1970 Gerd Muller (Bayern Munich)
- 1971 Johan Cruyff (Ajax)
- 1972 Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich)
- 1973 Johan Cruyff (Barcelona)
- 1974 Johan Cruyff (Barcelona)
- 1975 Oleg Blokhin (Dynamo Kyiv)
- 1976 Franz Beckenbauer (Bayern Munich)
- 1977 Allan Simonsen (Borussia Monchengladbach)
- 1978 Kevin Keegan (Hamburg)
- 1979 Kevin Keegan (Hamburg)
- 1980 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich)
- 1981 Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Bayern Munich)
- 1982 Paolo Rossi (Juventus)
- 1983 Michel Platini (Juventus)
- 1984 Michel Platini (Juventus)
- 1985 Michel Platini (Juventus)
- 1986 Igor Belanov (Dynamo Kyiv)
- 1987 Ruud Gullit (AC Milan)
- 1988 Marco van Basten (AC Milan)
- 1989 Marco van Basten (AC Milan)
- 1990 Lothar Matthaus (Internazionale)
- 1991 Jean-Pierre Papin (Marseille)
- 1992 Marco van Basten (AC Milan)
- 1993 Roberto Baggio (Juventus)
- 1994 Hristo Stoichkov (Barcelona)
- 1995 George Weah (AC Milan)
- 1996 Matthias Sammer (Borussia Dortmund)
- 1997 Ronaldo (Internazionale)
- 1998 Zinedine Zidane (Real Madrid)
- 1999 Rivaldo (Barcelona)
- 2000 Luis Figo (Real Madrid)
- 2001 Michael Owen (Liverpool)
- 2002 Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
- 2003 Pavel Nedved (Juventus)
- 2004 Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)
- 2005 Ronaldinho (Barcelona)
- 2006 Fabio Cannavaro (Real Madrid)
- 2007 Kaka (AC Milan)
- 2008 Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United)
- 2009 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- 2010 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- 2011 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- 2012 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- 2013 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
- 2014 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid)
- 2015 Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
- 2016 Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid).