Cristiano Ronaldo revelled in his latest personal triumph by taking a thinly-veiled swipe at the Barcelona players who decided against attending the Fifa Best awards, where the Portuguese added The Best Fifa Football Player trophy to his ever-growing collection.
The 31-year-old took centre stage once again on Monday evening as he received the award following his incredible 2016, where he was part of the Real Madrid and Portugal sides that won the Champions League and European Championship respectively, as well as collecting his fourth Ballon d’Or award.
Ronaldo beat Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann to the award, although Messi was a notable absentee from the awards gala as he and his Barcelona teammates elected not to travel to Zurich for the trophy presentation.
Along with Messi, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Luis Suarez also failed to attend, with Barcelona releasing a statement ahead of the ceremony to confirm their players could not attend due to their fixture schedule that sees them play on Sunday and Wednesday.
But Ronaldo, ever the showman, couldn’t resist poking fun at his rivals’ absence, and he chose the moment that he received his award to make it clear how much he revelled in their non-attendance.
“This achievement is incredible on a personal level,” Ronaldo said. “Unbelievable, I will never forget this year. I am very happy. Thank you everyone, I don’t really have anything else to add. The awards I think speak for themselves.
“I’m just very happy. I’m sorry some people from Barcelona aren’t here, but that’s understandable.”
Real have two extra days off compared to Barcelona, having played their last La Liga match on Saturday before taking on Sevilla in the Copa del Rey last-16 on Thursday, where they can break Barcelona’s Spanish record of 39 matches unbeaten after equalling the feat at the weekend.
Ronaldo quickly turned his attentions back to all things Real, and was keen to stress the importance of his teammates that had helped him to the success that capped “the best year of my career”.
“Its incredible,” he added. “It’s not the first time but it’s the first of this [Fifa Best Awards]. First and foremost I must thank my team-mates of Real Madrid and the coach. Thank you for everything you have done for me. I’ve also got to thank my family, my brothers, my mum, my whole staff 100 per cent for everything they’ve given me.
“2016 was the best year of my career. I had a lot of doubts but at the end I think the trophies speak for themselves. I achieved the best I could in the competitions and after I won what I did.”