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Cristiano Ronaldo/Photo: AFP

Portugal captain and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award for a fourth time, beating Lionel Messi in the process.

The 31-year-old helped the Los Blancos win their 11th Champions League title last season. He was also instrumental to Portugal’s Euro 2016 title-winning feat, scoring three goals.

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Ronaldo is now one Ballon d’Or  shy of Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, who received the honour in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

The former Manchester United forward has scored 19 goals in 20 games for club and country this term, to add to the 54 he got last season.

Ronaldo’s Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale finished sixth in the vote, while Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy – the only Englishman included on the 30-player shortlist – was eighth.

The Ballon d’Or is given to the best Europe-based player as voted by 173 journalists from around the world.

It has been awarded by France Football every year since 1956. But for the past six years it became the Fifa Ballon d’Or in association with world football’s governing body.

However, Fifa ended its association with the award in September.

Fifa will hand out its own prize for the world’s best men’s player, along with the best women’s player and team of the year, at the Best Fifa Football Awards ceremony in Zurich on 9 January.