Portugal 1-0 Netherlands - 4 things we learnt from the UEFA Nations League final
The inaugural edition of the UEFA Nations League is officially over with Portugal emerging as champions courtsey a 1-0 victory over Netherlands with Gonçalo Guedes getting the all-important winning goal.
In what was a high tempo match devoid of too many goalscoring chances, Portugal showed great tenacity to lift the trophy in front of their home fans. In this piece, we shall be taking a look at four talking points from the final of the UEFA Nations League.
#4 Ronaldo re-establishes himself in Ballon d'Or race
Having failed to fire Juventus to Champions League glory and falling short of his usual standards during the 2018/2019 season, a lot of people wrote off Cristiano Ronaldo's chances of winning a record sixth Ballon d'Or.
However, if there is one trait which the Portuguese icon has shown over his course of his career, it is an uncanny knack of rising highest in the face of adversity and once again, he did not fail to disappoint.
Having sat out all of Portugal's group stage matches since their exit from the 2018 World Cup last July, Ronaldo announced his debut in the novel tournament with a bang, scoring a memorable hattrick in the semifinal to lead his nation past a stubborn Switzerland side.
This coupled with Netherlands' qualification at the expense of England in the other semifinal fixture set up a mouth-watering final between the two nations, with Ronaldo coming up face-to-face with the man who is tipped to win the Ballon d'Or - Virgil van Dijk.
The Liverpool defender has been nothing short of spectacular since arriving Anfield and captaining his nation to glory in the Nations League would have undoubtedly boosted his stock higher.
However, that failed to happen as A Seleção das Quinas triumphed on the night to send their fans into ecstasy.
Even though Cristiano Ronaldo was not directly involved in the goal, he played an indirect role by drifting out wide to give Guedes the space to run in, while his semifinal hattrick is the reason why they got past the semi-final in the first place.
It was fitting that Ronaldo was the first man to lift the newly formed Nations League on home soil. This win came almost 15 years after his anguish and tears broke the hearts of many after losing the 2004 Euro final to Greece in Lisbon. With his triumph, you can expect the 34-year-old to be among the frontrunners for the 2019 Ballon d'Or.