Real Madrid's Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo falls to his knees as he celebrates their victory on the final whistle of the UEFA Champions League final football match between Juventus and Real Madrid at The Principality Stadium in Cardiff, south Wales, on June 3, 2017.
Real Madrid beat Juventus 4-1 to win Champions League. / AFP PHOTO / Glyn KIRK        (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/Getty Images)
Cristiano Ronaldo: Real Madrid's lion
01:52 - Source: CNN

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Cristiano Ronaldo wins fifth Ballon d'Or

Equals record set by rival Lionel Messi.

CNN  — 

Cristiano Ronaldo claimed his fifth Ballon d’Or Thursday, equaling the record set by eternal rival Lionel Messi.

Some of the biggest and best names to ever play the game were quick to congratulate the Portugal international.

Brazilian Pele, considered by many to be the greatest footballer of all time, said: “I would love to have played on the same side as you!”

High praise indeed.

After a decade of dominance and winning the previous 10 Ballon d’Ors between them, people are beginning to wonder if anybody else apart from Ronaldo or Messi will ever win the title.

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, who finished seventh in his first Ballon d’Or ranking at just the age of 18, is many people’s pick as a future winner.

Ronaldo recalls meeting the Frenchman only a few years ago.

Inevitably, Thursday’s award reignited the debate as to who is the best player: Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi?

Fans of the Portuguese star were keen to let Messi know the Argentine once held a 4-1 Ballon d’Or lead over Ronaldo.

It’s been quite a year for the 32-year-old Ronaldo. As well as helping his club Real Madrid win four trophies – including La Liga and the Champions League – he’s also been busy in his domestic life …

While we’re talking about trophies, was Ronaldo more deserving than Messi of winning the Ballon d’Or statistically?

But try telling Messi fans that …

However, given the month of December is traditionally a time of peace and goodwill, neutrals concentrated on celebrating two of the GOATs for their individuality.

And just how lucky we are to have been able to watch them both at their peak.