Cristiano Ronaldo has been maned UEFA’s Best Player in Europe for 2015-16.
The Real Madrid star beat teammate Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann to the award after a glittering year which saw him win the Champions League and Euro 2016.
Ronaldo was the clear favourite to receive the gong after he surpassed the 50-goal mark for the sixth consecutive season with Los Blancos, including 16 goals in the Champions League, and captained Portugal to European glory.
The Best Player in Europe award is a good prelude to the Ballon d’Or, where Ronaldo will be the favourite to win his fourth title ahead of Lionel Messi.
It’s easy to forget that many thought Ronaldo was on the wane at the start of 2015-16. What a way to prove the doubters wrong.
“In terms of trophies it was possibly the best of my career,” Ronaldo said about the past season, per UEFA.com. “After winning the Champions League, winning the European Championship with my country capped an extraordinary year.
“The same goes both collectively and individually, because I was top scorer in the Champions League and had a good European Championship. It really was a top-drawer, excellent season for me.”
Ronaldo scored the winner from 12 yards in Madrid’s shootout win over Atletico Madrid in May, a moment which the former Manchester United man called “the pinnacle” of Los Blancos’ season.
“It was an amazing experience. Once again [as in 2014] against Atlético Madrid, who are an excellent side and also deserved to win the Champions League ... but Real Madrid were better.
“We had a bit of luck in the shoot-out because penalties are always a lottery. It was the pinnacle of a difficult season for Real Madrid in which we were ultimately able to win the biggest trophy in club football.”