6. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang wins African Footballer of the Year
2016 was a year of firsts and shocks in the world of soccer. The African Footballer of the Year Award, which is awarded every January, followed both of those descriptions as Borussia Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scooped the prize. The Gabon international was a surprise first-time victor, finishing ahead of both Andre Ayew and Yaya Toure in the voting.
The result wasn’t met with great joy by Toure or Ayew, who both felt that they should have finished ahead of Aubameyang in the voting. Ayew was top scorer in the 2015 African Cup of Nations while Yaya Toure helped Ivory Coast win the competition. Both of these players also played well in their respective leagues, but they couldn’t match the form of Aubameyang. The Gabon international scored an impressive 39 goals in the 2015-16 season and has already netted 20 times this season.
Ronaldo wins fourth Ballon D’or
While there was a surprise selection for the African Player of the Year Award, there was nothing surprising about the winner of the Ballon D’or. Portugal and Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo won the award for the fourth time, leaving him one behind Lionel Messi.
The Portugal international had another great year with Real Madrid, scoring 51 goals in 48 appearances and winning a third Champions League winners medal. Ronaldo was also an integral part of Portugal’s Euro 2016 squad who triumphed over France in the tournament’s final. The award (including back when it was the FIFA World Player of the Year) has now gone to either Messi or Ronaldo every year since 2007.