Cristiano Ronaldo pips Lionel Messi to Uefa Player of the Year

Dutch player Lieke Martens won the women’s award

Cristiano Ronaldo was again named as Uefa's Player of the Year in Monaco. The 32 year-old Portuguese picked up the title for the third time after a season in which he helped Real Madrid to La Liga and Champions League titles.

The former Manchester United star, who previously won the award in 2014 and 2016, beat Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon to top spot in this year's event, taking 482 votes compared to 141 and 109 respectively for his rivals. The competition had been restructured slightly this year, with coaches of clubs that made the group stages of one of Uefa's two club competitions as well as 55 journalists from across Europe deciding the outcome.

I have to defend my position. For me, it's good. Keep voting for me!

The latest accolade comes a decade after Ronaldo’s first title-winning season at United brought him a string of personal awards including the one for PFA Players’ Player of the Year and Uefa’s then Club Footballer of the Year.

“I won this award 10 years ago and I have won it again,” he said in reply to a question about the Uefa one. “It’s good. I’m pleased. It shows that I’m still hungry to win trophies.”


Attacking players

Asked if he thought the dominance of attacking players in individual awards was a little unfair on some of his team-mates, he laughed and asked the journalist: “When you go to a stadium what do you want to see? It’s always a challenge [for the goalscorers] but we have to make the entertainment.

“I have to defend my position,” he joked. “For me, it’s good. Keep voting for me!”

Ronaldo also won the award for Best Forward in last year's Champions League. Buffon, Sergio Ramos and Luka Modric picked up the other positional awards for last season's competition, in which Ronaldo finished as top scorer.

The overall women's award, meanwhile, went to Lieke Martens of the Netherlands who was recently named Player of the Tournament at the European Championships which her team won on home soil.

Three goals

Martens, who has recently joined Barcelona from Swedish side Rosengard, scored three goals at the tournament including one in the 4-2 defeat of Denmark that clinched the title for the Dutch.

“I had had a good season for my club and then I was really pleased that I could be important for the team at the Euros, so I’m very proud,” she said. “It feels like I’m living a dream right now and I’m enjoying every minute of it.”

The striker beat off competition from Denmark’s Pernille Harder and Germany’s Dzenifer Marozsán to lift the award, the 24-year-old topping the poll with 95 votes to 81 and 47 respectively.

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times