Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo has been declared UEFA's Best Player in Europe for 2016. He won the award ahead of teammate, Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid forward, Antoine Griezmann.
This is the second time that the Portuguese captain has won the award, tying him with the Argentine Messi as the only two players to have had the honour of winning the award twice.
Ronaldo had a phenomenal season with the reigning Champions League holders, winning the coveted European title for the third time in his career, and the second time with Real, after the famed La Decima triumph in 2014.
He also had what was probably the best season of his career, individually, as he scored 51 goals in the La Liga and UEFA Champions League, combined. The forward also proceeded to become Los Blancos’ all-time top goalscorer, breaking the record of Spanish legend Raul Gonzalez, who had scored 323 goals for them. Ronaldo currently has 364 goals for Real.
He scored the final penalty as Real defeated crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid in the shootout to clinch the Champions League title. The former Manchester United man then took Portugal to the Euro 2016 title, fighting against all odds as they overcame a heavily favoured French side to win the Championships.
Welsh wizard Gareth Bale also had a standout season, taking charge of the Real team when Ronaldo was out injured, and delivering at the highest stage with Wales, taking them to the semi-finals of Euro 2016, where they were defeated by Ronaldo's Portugal. The Welshman contributed 20 goals and 13 assists during the season in 2015/16 for Real.
Antoine Griezmann was the star man for Atletico Madrid, who ran very close to winning the La Liga title, along with almost winning the Champions League title. He scored 32 goals in total for Atletico, and spearheaded their campaigns in both La Liga and Europe. He also excelled at Euro 2016, scoring 6 goals and providing 2 assists.
Griezmann though, suffered a tragic end to the 2015/16 season, losing in both the finals of the Champions League with Atletico Madrid and the Euro 2016 finals with France. Incidentally, it was Cristiano Ronaldo's teams who defeated him on both occasions.
After winning the award, Ronaldo said his biggest dream was to be a football player and to have success in football. His exact words were, “It was my dream to be a footbal payer, to have success in football, and I think I have done that.”
He also paid compliments to both Bale and Griezmann, saying, “You deserve to win the award too because you are unbelievable players.”
Here is the full breakdown of how the 55 members voted, which only underlines Ronaldo’s brilliance throughout the season:
|Cristiano Ronaldo||Real Madrid||40|
|Antoine Griezmann||Atletico de Madrid||8|
|Gareth Bale||Real Madrid||7|
The UEFA Women's Best Player in Europe award for 2016 goes to Ada Hederberg, who plays for Olympique Lyonnais in France as a striker. She beat out fellow nominees Amandine Henry, who plays for Portland Timber and finished runner-up last year, and Dzsenifer Marsozan, Hederberg's teammate at Lyon, to the award.
Hederberg, who plays for Norway, is the first non-German winner of the award. She won the UEFA Women’s Champions League, the French League and the French Cup last season, scoring a total of 46 goals. She also became the first woman in 20 years to win Norway's Gold Ball award for the country's best footballer.