Cristiano Ronaldo was presented with the Golden Foot award at the weekend to mark his outstanding achievements and performances in international football over the course of 2020.
Ronaldo beat longtime rival Lionel Messi and Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski to land the prestigious honour, for which only active players over the age of 28 are eligible.
The Juventus star got his hands on the prize at a small ceremony in Turin on Sunday, just two days after he lost out to Lewandowski for The Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year award.
The Golden Foot award signifies the player deemed to have excelled more than any other in international competition, both in a team and individual sense.
Ronaldo has won in the year he passed the 100-goal mark for Portugal, bringing up his spectacular century of international goals by scoring twice against Sweden in the UEFA Nations League back in September. He also won his second Serie A title in two years at Juventus, for whom he has scored 41 goals in all competitions so far in 2020.
As such the 35-year-old finished top of the online fan poll to decide the winner for 2020, from a shortlist of 10 players selected by a panel.
Ronaldo has had his “golden feet” cast, and they will go on display along with the rest of the past winners in Monaco.
“I am honoured to win the Golden Foot and to be immortalised on the Champion Promenade, together with some of the greatest football legends of all time!” he wrote in a post on Instagram. “I am truly humbled and want to thank the fans all over the world for having voted for me.”
The Golden Foot, which can only be won once by any player, has been handed out at the end of every year since Roberto Baggio claimed the inaugural prize in 2003. Ronaldo is the 18th recipient of the Golden Foot, which as things stand is one of the few individual awards that continues to evade the 33-year-old Messi.
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2003: Roberto Baggio
The Italy legend won the Golden Foot after scoring 12 goals to help Brescia to an impressive eighth-place finish in Serie A, also scoring his 300th career goal in the process.
2004: Pavel Nedved
The Golden Foot was just one of many individual awards collected by the Juventus star in 2003-04, the season in which he was also named World Footballer of the Year and claimed the Ballon d’Or.
2005: Andriy Shevchenko
Having won the Champions League and Serie A with Milan in 2003 and 2004 respectively, Shevchenko belatedly saw his goal-laden efforts recognised with a Golden Foot.
By 2006, Ronaldo was undoubtedly past his peak, with his final season at Real Madrid ravaged by fitness issues. In the season he won his Golden Foot, O Fenomeno made just seven league appearances, scoring just once.
2007: Alessandro Del Piero
A World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, the Juventus icon followed up with a sweep of individual awards before finishing as top scorer in Serie A in the 2007-08 season.
2008: Roberto Carlos
The Brazil international won the Golden Foot shortly after bringing his wildly successful 11-year stay at Real Madrid to an end with a free transfer to Fenerbahce.
Ronaldinho’s Golden Foot came just after he left Barcelona in favour of a move to Milan, where he saw his initially promising debut season fizzle out amid fitness concerns.
2010: Francesco Totti
Totti’s Golden Foot coincided with him falling down the pecking order under Claudio Ranieri at Roma, spending much of his time relegated to the bench in favour of younger, more agile forwards.
2011: Ryan Giggs
After being named Manchester United’s Player of the Decade in 2009, Giggs underlined his status as a one-club legend by celebrating his 20th year as a United player in 2010. He also maintained his incredible record of having scored in 21 successive top-flight campaigns.
2012: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
As well as the deluge of goals, Ibrahimovic was awarded the Golden Foot after winning eight top-flight titles in a row with Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona and AC Milan between 2003 and 2011.
2013: Didier Drogba
The two-time African Football of the Year took the Golden Foot honours after claiming the fifth league title of his distinguished career: Four coming with Chelsea and one latterly with Galatasaray.
2014: Andres Iniesta
Instrumental roles in six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, one World Cup and one European Championship were finally recognised in 2013-14, the year Iniesta and Barcelona won nothing.
2015: Samuel Eto’o
Rather perplexingly, Eto’o’s Golden Foot award came during his entirely forgettable season with Everton, five years after his last major career honour.
2016: Gianluigi Buffon
Somewhat ironically given his position as a goalkeeper, Buffon took the Golden Foot award after winning his seventh (or ninth, depending who you ask) Scudetto with Juventus. He had previously set a new Italian record (974 minutes) of consecutive minutes without conceding a single goal.
2017: Iker Casillas
Casillas ensured that goalkeepers took back-to-back Golden Foot awards halfway through his third season at Porto. The previous campaign he overtook Paolo Maldini as the player with the most appearances in European club matches (188).
2018: Edinson Cavani
Cavani claimed the Golden Foot just as he was beginning to lose his grip on a regular starting berth in the PSG first team. The previous season he scored 40 goals in just 48 appearances as the Parisians won a domestic quadruple.
2019: Luka Modric
Modric landed the prize mainly for excelling with Real Madrid and Croatia in 2018, most notably by finishing runner-up at the World Cup, which played a part in him winning the Ballon d’Or. However, 2019 was hardly a vintage year for the midfielder as Madrid finished third in La Liga, were dumped out of the Champions League round of 16 by Ajax and lost their Copa del Rey semifinal to Barcelona.