LONDON (Reuters) – Real Madrid’s Portugal striker Cristiano Ronaldo was crowned the best soccer player in the world for the second year running at FIFA’s The Best awards gala on Monday.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner won a La Liga and Champions League double with the Madrid club this year, striking twice against Juventus in the European Cup final to help Real become the first team to retain the trophy in its current format.
Barcelona’s Argentina forward Lionel Messi, who has won the Ballon d’or five times, and Paris St Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar were runners up for the award voted for by national team coaches and captains plus the media and fans.
The Best FIFA Men’s Player award and the Ballon d’or, which is voted for only by the media, are now separate awards.
Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane won the manager of the year trophy for his part in the club’s success.
Five Real players were named in the best XI of the year, with Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos joining Ronaldo, while Messi, Neymar, Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus), Dani Alves (PSG), Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan) and Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) were also selected.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud won the Puskas Award for the best goal of the year, which was the Frenchman’s scorpion kick against Crystal Palace, and Buffon was declared best goalkeeper.
The Netherlands’ Lieke Martens won best female player of the year, while the Dutch women’s national team coach Sarina Weigman was voted best manager after the team’s triumph at Euro 2017.
(Reporting by Rik Sharma; Editing by Ken Ferris)