Cristiano Ronaldo Wins the Best Player in Europe Award
Cristiano Ronaldo was named Uefa’s Best Player in Europe for winning the Champions League and Euro 2016.
The Portuguese captain had won the award back in the 2013-14 season but failed to win it in the 2014-15 season. It looked unlikely that he would win anything last season too when Real Madrid trailed Barcelona in La Liga and were behind in the Champions League. But fate stepped in with the Champions League and they went on to win the coveted trophy.
Was Ronaldo really responsible for Real Madrid’s Champions League success though? Well of course he played a big part being the lead scorer in the competition. But this success was also thanks in no part to Atletico Madrid who did the hard yards by beating both Bayern Munich and Barcelona to open the door to Real Madrid when they went into the final with Atletico. The match ended in a penalty shootout and heartbreak for Atletico who have never lifted this trophy when Juanfran missed his shot.
So fickle was Real Madrid’s win and in recognition of Atletico’s extraordinary season, their best player Antoine Griezmann was also in the final three for the Best Player in Europe Award. He came agonizingly close to winning the Champions League, but he should see some trophies in his future as the Frenchman is only 25 years of age and has many football years ahead of him. The other final three nominee was Ronaldo’s team mate Gareth Bale who has prospered under Zidane’s reign as manager.
Ronaldo didn’t win the Best Player award on his Champions League win alone of course. He also captained Portugal to their Euro 2016 win. Critics argue that he was injured in the final and his team went on to win without him, but UEFA took a wider view of the competition by giving him the award also based on his contribution in that competition.
In the past two years, Ronaldo has lost both the Best Player in Europe award and Ballon d’Or due to his team’s lack of trophies, even though he was often the highest scorer in Europe. Instead it was Lionel Messi who picked up both awards last time as he helped Barcelona haul in a number of important trophies. But last season Ronaldo outscored most and won two very important trophies and the reason he was voted Uefa’s Best Player in Europe.
However, Ronaldo was not the highest scorer in Europe this season. That honor went to Luis Suarez who controversially failed to make the final three nominees. However, Suarez scored a hat-trick for Barcelona in his last game this season and scored another in his last game last season for Barcelona. If he continues this form, he could make the final three in the most coveted individual award of all, the Ballon d’Or. This award is given to the best player in the world by calendar year.