Before the tournament, if someone had told you that Portugal would win Euro 2016, you’d instantly think of was due to the heroics of Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, the Real Madrid superstar wasn’t exactly at the top of his game during his country’s path to the final - although he did score three times before setting up a clash against the hosts, France in the final.
Any hopes Ronaldo had of winning the final by himself were dashed in the 25th-minute when he suffered a serious knee injury and had to be stretchered off.
Article continues below
Although Ronaldo’s involvement on the pitch was over, the forward prowled on the touchline barking instructions to his teammates as they pulled off a brilliant 1-0 win in extra-time thanks to Eder’s goal.
Portugal’s performance was recognised as UEFA named six of their players in the Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament, including Ronaldo.
Article continues below
However, the award for the Player of the Tournament went to losing finalist Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman scored six goals and provided two assists as Les Blues fell at the final hurdle.
Ronaldo votes for Pepe
However, Ronaldo disagrees with Griezmann getting the accolade. Instead, he feels that it should have gone to one of his compatriots.
"In my book, Pepe was extraordinary this year," he told UEFA.com. "It was possibly his best season.
"He was undoubtedly Portugal's best player and one of Real Madrid's best players in the Champions League.
"I'm delighted he was selected in the Team of the Tournament at the Euros – in my opinion Pepe was the best player at the Euros.”
Success for Ronaldo and Pepe
The past season was certainly successful for both Ronaldo and Pepe as they won the Champions League in May, following a penalty shootout victory over Atletico Madrid, before their Euro 2016 victory.
Pepe may have been instrumental in both triumphs but it’s Ronaldo that has been recognised on an individual front. The 31-year-old will be looking to cap off an incredible few months by winning UEFA's Best Player in Europe award. He will be up against both Gareth Bale and Griezmann, with the winner set to be announced on Thursday.
As for Pepe, he may well be coming to the end of his illustrious career with the tough-talking centre-back turning 34 next year. This season will mark his tenth at the Bernabeu, following his €30 million move from Porto back in 2007.
While he may be criticised for his controversial style of play, there is no doubting that Pepe has been a tremendous servant for the Spanish giants. Two La Ligas, two Champions Leagues and two Copa del Reys, whilst making 316 appearances, represents a pretty decent decade at Madrid.
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms