3 reasons why Ronaldo must be named UEFA Men's Best Player
The 2018 edition of the UEFA Awards would take place on Thursday August 30 during the draws for this season's Champions League group stage to be held in Monaco.
The award was introduced in 2011 by UEFA to revive the European Best Player award (Ballon d'Or) which was merged with the FIFA World Best Player to become the FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010. It also replaced the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year award, with the first edition being won by Lionel Messi after guding Barcelona to Champions League glory in 2011.
UEFA earlier released a shortlist of three nominees comprising World Cup Golden Ball winner Luka Modric, Last season's Premier League highest goalscorer Mo Salah and current holder Cristiano Ronaldo.
All three nominees are worthy winners, and deserve their nominations owing to their excellent performances last season. However, after another season of extraordinary performances, particularly in Europe, Cristiano Ronaldo is the overwhelming favorite to win the award for the third consecutive season. Here are three reasons why Ronaldo deserves to be named UEFA's Best Men Player.
#3 Champions League performance has always been used to determine the winner of this award
Despite this being a World Cup year, and Ronaldo exiting the mundial early, the award should still be retained by the Portuguese owing to his performance in the Continent's premier club competition.
Traditionally, this award has always be given to the best performing player in European club competitions, with Ronaldo's win in 2014, despite his group stage exit at the World Cup in Brazil being a prime example.
Going further back, the award which it replaced; the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year was also always awarded to the best player in club competitions even in a World Cup year.
Ronaldo de Lima won the inaugural edition in 1998 largely for his extraordinary performances in helping Inter win the UEFA Cup rather than for his efforts at the World Cup even though he also impressed in France. Four years later was a more glaring example, as Zinedine Zidane's performances in Real's Champions league victory helped him win the award despite being the talisman of a shambolic performance by defending champions France in Korea/Japan where they became the first World Cup holders to be eliminated in the group stage. In 2006, after guiding Barcelona to its second UCL crown, Ronaldinho won the award, notwithstanding his underperformance with Brazil in Germany, ditto Diego Milito in 2010.
With all due respect to Salah's incredible debut campaign for Liverpool, and Luka Modric's extraordinary World Cup performance, this is an award which rewards club performances in UEFA competitions, and Ronaldo has a distinct edge over the pair.
He incredibly won the Golden Boot for the sixth consecutive season (sharing the 2015 edition with Neymar and Messi), and set a new record for being the first player to score in all group stage matches in a season.
He also went further, becoming the first player to score in the first eight matches of a Champions League season, en route setting the all time record of scoring in 11 consecutive Champions League matches, which were crucial as Real Madrid secured its third consecutive Champions League crown and 13th overall.
Cristiano Ronaldo outperformed both Luka Modric and Mo Salah in last season's Champions League, and for that reason he should be named UEFA Men's Best Player on Thursday.