Cristiano Ronaldo calls 2016 'the best year of my career' after Ballon d'Or win

Cristiano Ronaldo said 2016 was "the best year of my career" and cited Portugal's Euro 2016 victory as the highlight after being named this year's Ballon d'Or winner.

Ronaldo picked up football's most prestigious individual award for the fourth time after comfortably winning the vote of a global panel of journalists organised by the French magazine, France Football.

It marked his achievements with club Real Madrid, whom he inspired to an 11th UEFA Champions League trophy -- his second with the La Liga giants -- and Portugal, whom he captained as they defied the odds to become European champions last summer.

"2016 is undoubtedly the best year of my career, both collectively and as an individual," Ronaldo told France Football in a taped video as he sat in his club's well-stocked trophy room.

"Winning something with Portugal was what was missing from my CV. It was one of the most important moments of my life."

He added: "The difference between Real Madrid and Portugal is that Madrid is used to winning, that's why they have 11 Champions League trophies. Portugal had never won a major trophy."

Ronaldo was forced to limp out of last July's final at the Stade de France early after suffering an injury, but he returned to lift the Henri Delaunay trophy following Eder's extra-time goal that had broken the hearts of hosts France.

The 31-year-old said the feat topped being crowned king of Europe with his club.

"To win the Euro with Portugal was a little bit above that, emotionally," he said. "It was like my first Ballon d'Or in 2008. It's special. In short, it was an unforgettable year."

Ronaldo first picked up the Ballon d'Or when he was at Manchester United. He triumphed again for his efforts for Madrid in 2013 and '14 but insisted the frequency of his wins have not diminished his happiness at receiving the honour.

"When it's the first time, the emotion is always a little bit different," he said. "The first time is the first time, like with everything. In 2008, the joy was immense. It was the fulfillment of a dream for me and my family. A moment unique at 23, a unique moment in your life.

"What I feel today is like that of 2008. It's my job, I work to be the best, sacrifice a lot for that. That's why this prize is so important

"Every time I get a prize like this I say to myself, 'Cristiano, it was worth working all those years, making all those sacrifices, not doing the things you wanted to, but thinking about football.'

"It's sometimes difficult to express what I feel, but inside me, there is an immense joy, because I have worked hard to get to this point."