Ronaldo, Ranieri, Lloyd win FIFA awards

Chidi Samuel with agency reports

Cristiano Ronaldo, the Portugese captain and Real Madrid forward won FIFA’s rebranded player of the year award on Monday, beating his old rival Lionel Messi who was absent at the ceremony following FC Barcelona’s withdrawal of its players from the event.

The 31-year old Ronaldo was rewarded for a year in which he won the Champions League with his club Real Madrid and the Euro 2016 with Portugal.

Argentine Messi was second in the vote and Frenchman Antoine Griezmann third.

“I’m very happy and I can say that 2016 was the best year of my career”, said Ronaldo as he was presented the award by FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

Ronaldo also won the France Football’s Ballon d’Or, the other major international award for the sport, last month. He won the old FIFA award once in 2008 and also in 2013 and 2014 when it was organised jointly with France Football magazine.

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Italian Claudio Ranieri won the Coach of the year award for leading outsiders Leicester City to the English Premier League title. Portugal coach, Fernando Santos and Real Madrid coach, Zinedine Zidane were finalists.

The FIFA Best Female Player Award went to World Cup winner and two-time Olympic winner Carli Lloyd, while the FFIFA Puskas Award went to Mohd Faiz Subri, forward, Penang in the 2016 Malaysia Super League.

The FIFA Best Women’s Coach Award went to Silvia Neid, who retired after leading Germany to a first Olympic title in Rio.