Real Madrid and Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo was named France Football's 2017 Ballon d'Or winner on Thursday and took home his fifth such award to draw level with Barcelona's Lionel Messi, who finished second.
The 32-year-old has clinched 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:
France Football @francefootball
Final ranking of Ballon d'Or France Football 2017 : 1st - CRISTIANO RONALDO Live ranking : https://t.co/VCaRs94Ncc #BallondOr https://t.co/nTqDckl0ex2017-12-7 19:01:35
Ronaldo's 2017 achievements included helping Real win La Liga for the first time in five years and becoming the first team to successfully defend the UEFA Champions League title. Portugal also finished third at the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with the aid of their captain.
The Real talisman has enjoyed one of the most prolific years of his career as far as silverware is concerned, and he spoke after clinching his most recent gong, per the Mirror:
"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."
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar finished third on the podium for the second time in his career, and Ronaldo spoke positively of the former Barca man and the impact he's set to have on the award: "Neymar has a lot of talent, a lot of potential, and I'm sure he'll have some chance to win in the future."
Ronaldo also gave some indication of his Ballon d'Or target when asked what he wants for Christmas, having recently had his fourth child with girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez: "Another baby ... no, it's a joke, we're going to enjoy the four of us, I want seven Gold Balls and seven children."
That outcome would be difficult to deny Ronaldo should he lead Real to a third successive European triumph, although finishing second to Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League group has dented those hopes.
One thing we know is Ronaldo will continue to vie for the title of world's best, and we can only hope drawing level with Messi in Ballon d'Or wins may yet coax something even greater out of 2017's best.