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Ronaldo crowned Italian league player of the year

MILAN (AP) — Cristiano Ronaldo was named the Italian league’s player of the year on Monday following his debut season at Juventus. Ronaldo was at the Gran Gala del Calcio in Milan to collect his prize, instead of attending the Ballon d’Or ceremony in Paris where he was third in the voting for best player in the world.

The Juventus forward turned up about an hour before the main award was announced, arriving more than two hours after the other guests, and waited outside in the car until the moment came for him to go on stage to pick up the prize for his place in the team of the season.

“It’s an honor to hold this award,” Ronaldo said in Italian. “I thank my Juventus teammates. “I’m very happy to play in Italy, it’s a very difficult league. Thanks to everyone for having voted for me. I want to do as well this year, too.”

For the first time at the Italian ceremony there were also awards for female players. Roma and Italy forward Manuela Giugliano won the top prize. All the awards are voted for by a mix of footballers, coaches, referees and journalists.

Ronaldo signed for Juventus from Real Madrid in July 2018 and helped the Bianconeri to their eighth successive Serie A title. The 34-year-old Ronaldo scored 28 goals in all competitions for Juventus, including 21 in the league.

Gian Piero Gasperini won the award for best coach after leading Atalanta to third place and a Champions League berth. Atalanta was the team of the season, ahead of Juventus and Italian Cup winner Lazio.

“This award I share with the whole club, all the players, the whole of Bergamo because we did something really amazing, all of us together,” Gasperini said. “We did incredibly last season, it was unthinkable, including the Italian Cup final. It’s because of that that we’re getting all these awards.”

Gasperini beat former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri and Bologna’s Siniša Mihajlović. Brescia’s Sandro Tonali won the award for the best Serie B player after the 19-year-old forward helped to win the second division title last season.

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