He chose to attend the Serie A awards gala which he was guaranteed the best player of the year award instead of the Ballon d’Or.

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The Portuguese's presence was a mystery until the last minute, not spotted inside the event until it was time for him to collect his prize, when he then appeared on stage before leaving immediately.

"I'm proud to be the best player in Serie A," he said.

"I thank my teammates and everyone who voted for me."Now I'll work to be here again next year.

He has made history as the first player to receive the best player award in England, Spain and Italy.

"Cristiano was also named in the Team of the Year alongside Samir Handanovic (Inter); Joao Cancelo (ex-Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juve), Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli), Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma); Miralem Pjanic (Juve), Nicolo Barella (Cagliari/Inter), Josip Ilicic (Atalanta); Fabio Quagliarella (Sampdoria) and Duvan Zapata (Atalanta).