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Votes
1
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid & Portugal)
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Although Ronaldo's Madrid side were outgunned by rivals Barcelona in La Liga, he collected plenty of individual and team trophies in 2016.
Votes
2
Lionel Messi (Barcelona & Argentina)
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The little master continued to put his case as one of the greatest footballers of all time, meshing with Suarez and Neymar for an unprecedented attacking force at club level and leading his nation, Argentina, oh-so-close to glory in the Copa America.
Votes
3
Neymar Jr (Barcelona & Brazil)
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Neymar was part of an unstoppable duo for Barcelona, but his year was taken to even greater heights when he captained Brazil to their first-ever Olympic gold medal in football, scoring the decisive penalty in front of 100,000 demanding and adoring fans.
Votes
4
Luis Suarez (Barcelona & Uruguay)
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Suarez is the point of the spear for arguably the greatest attacking trio of all time, and clearly the world's best striker. With 40 goals in La Liga, the controversial Uruguayan superstar broke Messi and Ronaldo's stranglehold on the Pichichi Trophy and Golden Shoe Award for Europe's top scorer. He also lead the Spanish league in assists.
Votes
5
Tom Brady (New England Patriots)
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After a long-winded court battle saw Brady fall to the might of the NFL, and miss four games due to 'Deflategate', the aging quarterback came back with a vengeance, tearing apart opposition defenses as he (yet again) led the Patriots to the #1 seed in the AFC.
Votes
6
Ezekiel Elliott (Ohio State Buckeyes and Dallas Cowboys)
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Elliott began his year by gashing Notre Dame for four touchdowns in the Fiesta Bowl, then was picked #4 overall in the NFL draft, and followed that up by producing one of the greatest seasons by a rookie ever, tallying almost 2,000 total yards and 16 TDs.
Votes
7
Deshaun Watson (Clemson)
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He didn't win the Heisman, but Watson had the best 2016 of any college footballer. He started by almost single-handedly upsetting Alabama for the national championship, racking up 478 yards against the nation's #1 defence in the title game. He closed the year by scoring 3 TDs in a 31-0 thumping of Ohio State to set up a rematch for the title.
Votes
8
Jamie Heaslip (Leinster & Ireland)
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Heaslip was a powerful force for both club and country as he emerged as one of the top players of modern rugby. He was part of Ireland's historic victory over the mighty All Blacks (first win in more than a century), and was a finalist for World Player of the Year.
Votes
9
Beauden Barrett (Wellington Hurricanes & All Blacks)
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Barrett led the Hurricanes to their first-ever Super Rugby title before lighting up the best opposition from all over the world for New Zealand in various international competitions, earning World Rugby Player of the Year honors to go alongside many team trophies.
Votes
10
Patrick Dangerfield (Geelong Cats)
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An electrifying player who switched clubs in the offseason, Dangerfield led his new team to the AFL (Aussie Rules) playoffs, and won the Brownlow Medal for 'best and fairest' with a record number of votes, and by the biggest margin seen in 40 years.
Votes
11
Cooper Cronk (Melbourne Storm, Queensland & Australia)
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Cronk was a key cog in the Storm's minor premiership and run to the NRL Grand Final, as well as Queensland's triumph in the State of Origin and Australia's victory in the Four Nations tournament. Cronk was co-winner of the Dally M Medal as best player in the NRL, and won the Golden Boot as the world's best rugby league player for 2016.
Votes
12
Mario Itoje (Saracens & England)
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The English rugby team is on the rise, following the embarrassment of the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and young stars like Itoje are the reason why. A powerful force at both set-piece and in open play, the Saracens forward looks like a player to watch in future.

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