The superlatives were endless after Cristiano Ronaldo inspired Real Madrid to a comeback win against Wolfsburg in the Champions League.
Zinedine Zidane called him the world’s best. Sergio Ramos called him Los Blancos’ icon.
After Ronaldo’s virtuoso display - combined with Lionel Messi’s four-game goal drought, many are wondering if the Portuguese has replaced the Barcelona magician as the current best player in the world.
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It’s only been three months since Messi capped off a brilliant 2015 by pipping Ronaldo to the Ballon d’Or but the 31-year-old has squashed talk that he is on the decline this season.
He’s scored 46 goals in all competitions and is the top scorer in the Champions League and La Liga. We’re not even a third of the way through 2016 but Ronaldo is leading the race to win the 2016 Ballon d’Or.
After Madrid reached the Champions League semi-final with a 3-2 aggregate win over Wolfsburg, the ultimate question was put to Ronaldo: Are you the best in the world?
Watch Ronaldo’s answer below. For those you don’t speak Spanish, the translation, provided by 101GreatGoals, is underneath the video.
Ronaldo said: “In my head, yes.”
Would you expect anything else? The former Manchester United star has never doubted his ability and it’s refreshing to see a player give an honest answer to a question asked to cause controversy.
Ronaldo vs. the world
The Portugal international plays with a chip on his shoulder and his reaction after single-handedly inspiring Madrid’s victory spoke of a man who was delighted to silence the critics.
“Considering this has been a ‘bad’ season for me it has not been that bad,” Ronaldo said at full-time, per The Guardian. “People can criticise me but I just keep on going and the numbers are there for all to see. I am very happy and with a month left of the season I can get even better.
“It was not the best, but one of my best, European nights. It’s not bad is it? Goals are in my DNA and I want to keep scoring them for the team.”
Madrid are through to the Champions League semi-finals for the sixth straight year as they attempt to win the European competition for the second time in three years.
Their season looked bleak just a few weeks ago - when they trailed Barcelona by 13 points in La Liga - and their Champions League dreams appeared in tatters after succumbing to a 2-0 defeat to Wolfsburg in last week’s first leg.
But now, Madrid have all the momentum.
A 2-1 win in El Clasico, combined with Barca’s loss to Real Sociedad, helped close the gap to the Catalan club to four points.
And Madrid have booked their place in the last-four while Barca still have work to do in their quarter-final second leg against Atletico Madrid.
What once appeared to be a disastrous campaign has the potential to end with two trophies.