Ronaldo beats Messi and Buffon to UEFA Best Player in Europe award

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Cristiano Ronaldo has won the UEFA Best Player in Europe award for the third time in four years.

Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon were beaten to the accolade by Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid star, 32, scooped the honour after helping his side to Champions League glory in 2016-17, scoring 12 goals in the competition.

A magnificent campaign from Ronaldo saw him score a total of 42 goals across all competitions as Madrid added a LaLiga title to the defence of their European crown.

"[My goal is] the same every year - the same challenge to win everything, if possible, with my club and the national team," Ronaldo said.

"As I said before, I'm so glad to be here. It is an honour to win this trophy again. I have to say thanks to my team-mates and congratulations to them too.

"For the national team, too. I know it is not a trophy of the national team but when I go to them they give me motivation every time.

"Also [I am] blessed for the supporters of Real Madrid. I am so happy for everyone who helped me to win this trophy. Thank you to everyone."

The award, which was announced at Thursday's Champions League draw in Nyon, adds to the Portugal international's triumphs in 2014 and 2016.

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.