Top 10 Players of Ballon d’Or 2017
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Real Madrid forward Ronaldo beat Barcelona’s Lionel Messi to win the Ballon d’Or award for the fifth time – and the second year in a row.
Victory took the 32-year-old Portugal international level with 30-year-old Argentine Messi. Who won the most recent of his five awards in 2015. Back-to-back Ballons d’Or for the second time in his career having done so in 2013 and 2014 after being named The Best FIFA Men’s Player in October.
Last season, Ronaldo helped Real Madrid win the Champions League and their first La Liga title since 2012.
Ronaldo added the 2017 Ballon d’Or to those he won in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016. And Messi is the only other recipient of the award since 2009.
“This is something I look forward to every year,” he said, after receiving the award on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
“Thanks to my Real Madrid team-mates. And I want to thank the rest of the people who helped me reach this level.”
The 2016-17 campaign was a stellar season for the former Manchester United player.
After helping Portugal win Euro 2016, he scored 42 goals for Real in all competitions as they won their 33rd La Liga title and 12th European Cup.
He scored twice in a 4-1 Champions League final win over Juventus and netted 25 times in 29 league games as Los Blancos finished three points ahead of Barcelona.
Ronaldo says after winning his 5th ballon d’or :-
“I feel very happy, it’s a fantastic moment in my career, I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.
“This year has been great, we won the Champions League and La Liga and, on a personal level, I was a top scorer in the Champions League.
“Trophies help win these awards and we have to thank my colleagues from Madrid and Portugal, it was very important for me.”
It’s only natural that much of the conversation regarding Ronaldo’s fifth Ballon d’Or triumph turned to his ongoing battle with Messi, with whom he has now accounted for the past 10 awards.
However, his reference to the Barca superstar in his acceptance speech was a humble one and analysed their head-to-head in a good-hearted manner: “I hope to play at this level for a few more years, I hope the battle with Messi continues, things happen for a reason. I feel good this season and we’ll see what we win at the end of the year.”
2. Lionel Messi
Barcelona star takes 2nd palace in Ballon d’Or
Messi’s ex-Barcelona team-mate Neymar, now at Paris St-Germain, was third. FC Barcelona pride and Paris Saint Germain player take 3rd position in Ballon d’Or
4. Gianluigi Buffon
The Juventus legend is ranked the highest goalkeeper.
That means we know the top three.
But who will finish where?
6. Sergio Ramos
Hello! Sergio Ramos comes in at number six. The highest-rated defender in the world.
Ramos was at the heart of Real’s defense last season that saw the club defend their Champions League crown and win La Liga for the first time since 2012.
He’ll be at the World Cup next summer where no doubt Spain will be gunning to win the tournament.
And just missing out on the top five is…
18:17: Kylian Mbappe was a relative unknown 18 months ago.
Now he is the seventh best player in the world!
The PSG star – currently on loan from Monaco until the summer until the club can offset the permeant transfer fee next season – was wanted at all the big clubs at the end of the last campaign.
Asked about being ranked seventh in the world, Mbappe said: “It’s amazing”
Surely a future winner of the award.
The French teenager comes in seventh following his exploits with Monaco and now PSG.
8. N’Golo Kante.
The highest position for any Premier League player this year goes to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante.
9. Robert Lewandowski
Another striker now as Robert Lewandowski comes out just ahead of Kane. The Bayern Munich man remains one of the world’s top marksmen.
10. Harry Kane
The highest-placed English player comes in at 10: Tottenham’s Harry Kane.
He can certainly go higher in the coming seasons given his goalscoring form.
|Ballon d’Or winners: Ronaldo & Messi dominate since 2008|
|2016||Ronaldo||Lionel Messi||Antoine Griezmann|
Kaka was the last player other than Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to take home the Ballon d’Or, and the Brazilian playmaker won the coveted awarded way back in 2007.
For the last decade, Messi and Ronaldo have monopolized the award, and it would be a huge surprise was that trend not to continue when the 2017 Ballon d’Or is handed out on Thursday in Paris.
Real Madrid’s Ronaldo is the front-runner to win football’s most coveted individual prize for the second year running after leading Los Blancos to La Liga and UEFA Champions League glory in the 2016-17 campaign.
Ronaldo and Lionel Messi set for another Ballon d’Or battle
Ronaldo could go level with Messi in winning prestigious award five times
Sportsmail gives you a lowdown on all you need to know ahead of the event
How is the Ballon d’Or decided?
On behalf of France Football magazine, the prestigious prize is selected by a group of 173 journalists from across the globe.
It’s a closed shop to the public so fans hoping to have an official say through social media or by any other means miss out on the selective process.