Cristiano Ronaldo has beaten off competition from the likes of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann to claim his fourth Ballon d’Or.
The prolific Portuguese, who previously lifted the prestigious prize in 2008, 2013 and 2014, has enjoyed arguably the most successful year of his illustrious career, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid before captaining his country to European Championship glory in France.
Messi, who boasts a record five Ballons d’Or, helped Barcelona win a domestic double last season but his dream of leading Argentina to a major international title was dashed by a penalty-shootout loss to Chile in the final of the Copa America.
As for Griezmann, the 24-year-old attacker fired both Atletico Madrid and France to the finals of the Champions League and Euro 2016, respectively, but he suffered the agony of defeat on both occasions.
Ronaldo, by contrast, tasted nothing but success over the summer by converting the winning spot-kick in Real’s 11th European Cup triumph, in May, and then cheer-leading the Seleccao to victory over France in Paris just over six weeks later.
With the 31-year-old having already finished top of the Goal 50 and now claimed another Ballon d’Or, he is set to complete a hat-trick of individual honours for 2016 when FIFA announces the winner of its Best Player award in January.
But inevitably, the decision sparked a vibrant debate on Twitter, with social media users flocking to pass judgement on the new Ballon d’Or holder.
One of Ronaldo or Messi would have like 9 Ballon D'or if it weren't for the other. Both gods amongst men.
— BC (@Spursesque) December 12, 2016
What a day! Arsenal to face Bayern in the UCL .. Pogba brothers to meet in the Europa and Ronaldo wins Ballon d'Or…
— Seyi Daniels (@iam_seyidaniels) December 12, 2016
Congratulations to Cristiano Ronaldo on winning the Ballon d'or.
Well deserved ???????? https://t.co/WfYivPMZ1n
— Leo Messi (@messi10stats) December 12, 2016
Messi when Ronaldo won Ballon d'Or pic.twitter.com/YQDkWfi1gB
— Frau Neuerⓑⓙⓚ (@dijigartal) December 12, 2016
Messi has been robbed, since when was the Ballon d'or a team award?
— Sam Randall (@SamRandyRandall) December 12, 2016
Wins 3 trophies, scores 55 goals and 17 assists and people still say Ronaldo doesn't deserve the Ballon D'or
— Ryan (@RyanMcN97) December 12, 2016
If anyone deserved to win the Ballon d'Or it's Victor Moses neither Messi not Ronaldo
— Foreverblue (@ForeverBlue_07) December 12, 2016
Ronaldo winning the 4th ballon d'or is so good in the sense that it separates him from the league from players who have won it thrice.
— Saurav (@ree_casolina) December 12, 2016
This season Cristiano Ronaldo has been terrible, wasn't great at the start of the year either. Fact he won Ballon D'or is a disgrace
— jit 910 (@jit_316) December 12, 2016
Poor oul Suarez will have to score 200 goals in a season and Ronaldo to break his leg and he might have a chance to win, disgrace
— ???????? (@DylanE5555) December 12, 2016
Imagine playing awful for the last 6 months, an awful euros performance wise… And still winning player of year? Ronaldo shouldn't have won
— Percival Graves (@jxmielannister) December 12, 2016