(Qasioun) - Simply The Best. Cristiano Ronaldo has picked up FIFA's prestigious prize for the finest footballer of 2016, a reward for what was the greatest year in his entire career.
The Portuguese missed out on the FIFA Ballon d'Or to Lionel Messi this time last year and many predicted he would not be back at the gala ever again. But how he proved them wrong.
Ronaldo won continental crowns for club and country in 2016, winning the Champions League with Real Madrid and Euro 2016 with Portugal. He also claimed the Ballon d'Or (no longer a FIFA award) andhit a hat-trick in the final as Zinedine Zidane's men ended the year by bringing home the Club World Cup.
Things could hardly have gone better. On top of all that, he also signed a new contract at Real Madrid and at the event to announce the new agreement, he was asked what was his most memorable moment since joining the club from Manchester United in 2009.
"This one," he replied. "I think this has been the best year of my career, both individually and collectively. To win an important title with Portugal, that was one of the greatest moments of my career.
And he added: "Not forgetting the Champions League, in which I was the top scorer and best player."
The 31-year-old hit the winning penalty as Madrid won La Undecima by beating city rivals Atletico in the Champions League showpiece at San Siro, and although he suffered injury in the final of Euro 2016, he contributed to the important results against Hungary, Croatia, Poland and Wales which saw Fernando Santos' side make it to Paris.
Tearful as he limped off with knee ligament damage against France, the Madrid forward was back on the sidelines soon afterwards urging his team to victory and several players - including goalscorer Eder - claimed Cristiano had made them believe they could win it.
So Ronaldo was right. Individually and collectively, he has never had a greater year and this latest prize is a reward for all his hard work in 2016.
Just two days after showing off his four Ballons d'Or to the Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu ahead of the 5-0 win against Granada (in which he also scored), the 31-year-old now has another trophy for his collection - and for his museum in Madeira.
With Madrid on top of La Liga and unbeaten in 39 matches in all competitions, 2017 has started on a positive note for Ronaldo as well. And ever-ambitious as he is, the Portuguese will want more of the same this year.
Source: Sporting News