Cristiano Ronaldo beat Gianluigi Buffon and Lionel Messi to win UEFA Player of the Year award on Thursday as European soccer’s governing body announced the Champions League group stage draw in Monaco.
Ronaldo, who has now won the award more number of times than Messi, was crucial in Real Madrid’s Champions League campaign of 2016-17, scoring crucial goals in important matches. He has now won the award three times. Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 in the final and Ronaldo became the top scorer of the tournament with 12 goals. He had previously won the award in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016
“There are the same goals every year, to meet the same challenges, win everything if possible, qualify for the World Cup with my national team,” said Ronaldo after receiving the award. “This trophy will give me the motivation to keep working hard, never to give up. I am blessed and delighted to be with Real Madrid.”
Juventus goalkeeper and captain Gianluigi Buffon was second in the voting ahead of Lionel Messi, who has won the prize on two occasions. The three were chosen by a panel of 80 coaches of clubs that participated in the group stages of the 2016/17 Champions League and Europa League and 55 journalists.
Meanwhile, Luka Modric won the award for the best midfielder, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos the best defender and Buffon got the best goalkeeper award.