Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo admitted he would have liked to see his Barcelona adversaries in the audience as he lifted the 2016 FIFA Best Player award.
There were few surprises at the gala ceremony in Zurich as Ronaldo added the crown to the Ballon d’Or he was awarded back in December.
And during his acceptance speech, the Portugal captain pointed out that neither Lionel Messi nor the rest of the Catalan side were present to see him triumph.
Simply the best! Cristiano sweeps up awards
“I would like thank very warmly all those that voted for me, the fans, the captains and the media. Thank you,” he beamed from the stage.
“I don’t really have anything to add, awards speak for themselves. I’m really, really happy.
“I’m sorry that some people from Barcelona aren’t here with us and that’s understandable but thank you to everyone. Thank you for what you’ve given me.”
Barca’s award ceremony snub in favour of training for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash has been met with strong criticism in Spain that it’s reminiscent of Real Madrid’s actions during Jose Mourinho’s combative spell at the club.
Award winner Ronaldo also thanked those closest to him for their support, while affirming that the past 12 months were a new high for him.
“It’s not the first time but this award is really for me the first time. I’m really happy, I’d like to thank my team-mates and of course the whole team of Real Madrid and the coach,” he said.
“And thank you for everything you’ve done. I’d like to thank my family, my brothers, my mum and my whole staff, 100 per cent.
“And I tell you, 2016 was the best of my career. I had a lot of doubts but the trophy showed that I lived up to that and I was able to achieve what I could in the competitions.
“After the competitions I won I had no doubts that I’d be able to get it. It was a year that was magnificent on a personal level, at a sports level. I will never forget this wonderful moment.”
The 31-year-old striker triumphed in the Champions League with Real Madrid as well as Euro 2016 to convince voters he deserved the prize, beating out Messi and Antoine Griezmann