To the surprise of absolutely no-one, Ed Sheeran has been named the Global Recording Artist of the Year by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) after an exceptionally successful year. He's been hitting goal after goal over the last few months, so it's no wonder he's thinking about early retirement.

Ed Sheeran at the International Berlin Film FestivalEd Sheeran at the International Berlin Film Festival

Not only has the 27-year-old hit the jackpot by being the world's best-selling recording artist of 2017, but he has also set a record by being the first with the title to also have best-selling record and single of the year, with his third studio album 'Divide' and song 'Shape of You'. 

Of course, it is only the fifth time the award has been given by the IFPI, with previous winners being One Direction, Taylor Swift, Adele and Drake. For 2017, the latter has been knocked down to second place, while Taylor Swift is now third. 

Other artists in the top ten are Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, Bruno Mars, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, Linkin Park and The Chainsmokers. The IFPI calculate their top recording artist through the sales of digital, CD and vinyl formats as well as audio streams.

Indeed, Ed - who is currently preparing to embark on the sixth leg of his 'Divide' world tour this Spring - has had quite the landmark year in his career. 'Divide' went to number one worldwide, as did singles 'Shape of You' and 'Perfect', and had the third-highest opening sales in British history behind Adele's '25' and Oasis' 'Be Here Now'.

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This year he was the winner of the BRITs' Global Success Award as well as two Grammys for Best Pop Solo Performance ('Shape of You') and Best Pop Vocal Album. Last year he was also appointed the prestigious honour of Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2017 Birthday Honours from Prince Charles.