Cristiano Ronaldo has edged out Lionel Messi and Gianluigi Buffon to take home the UEFA Best Player in Europe award that was handed out on Thursday during the Champions League draw in Monaco.
Ronaldo scored 42 goals in 46 matches this past season, as Real won its 12th Champions League. Though Messi had 54 goals in 52 matches, what seemed to put CR7 over the top was the winning, both the UCL and La Liga.
This was Ronaldo’s third time winning the award and second in a row.
Messi has won it twice in 2011 and 2015, with Andres Iniesta and Franck Ribery the other players to have won the accolade since its inaugural year in 2010.
It replaced the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award, which Ronaldo and Messi also won once apiece.
The ceremony also saw the best goalkeeper award won by Buffon, with Sergio Ramos named the season’s top defender, Luka Modric the best midfielder and Ronaldo getting the forward accolade.