Cristiano Ronaldo beats Messi to win fifth Ballon d'Or, ties rival for most ever

Cristiano Ronaldo took home his fifth Ballon d'Or on Thursday, matching Lionel Messi for the most ever. The Real Madrid superstar, who a day prior became the first player ever to score in every group stage match in a single edition of the Champions League, won the best player award from FIFA in October and adds to his trophy case as expected with this one. 

The Ballon d'Or, now given out by France Football based on journalist votes, goes to Ronaldo for the second year and rightfully so. As we have seen in the past, the team's success continues to hold a lot of weight as to who wins. Real won the Champions League last year and La Liga, with Ronaldo scoring 42 goals in 46 matches, including leading the UCL with 12 goals. Messi never really stood much of a chance despite scoring 54 goals in 52 matches. Barca only won the Copa del Rey, which wasn't enough to push him past Ronaldo overall.

Ronaldo's last season was a fantastic one, even while battling an injury early on in the season. Ronaldo was third in La Liga with 25 goals and his Champions League performances were some of the best ever seen. After not scoring in 180 minutes against Napoli in the round of 16, the Portuguese star went nuts. In the quarterfinals against Bayern Munich, he scored twice in the first leg, a 2-1 win in Madrid, but then he produced a brilliant hat trick at home as Real cruised through 6-3 on aggregate.

Then in the semis, a hat trick in the first leg against Atletico Madrid cemented Real's spot in the final, where he went on to score two goals in the 4-1 win over Juventus to lift the UCL trophy for the third time at the club.

The last two seasons, without a doubt, have been Ronaldo's best ever as a pro when it comes to individual performance and trophies. The scary thing is, when most players are past their prime at 32, Ronaldo still seems firmly in it, and this likely isn't the last Ballon d'Or he wins.

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Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

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