Cristiano Ronaldo spoke about going down in history as one of the greats, after winning the inaugural The Best Fifa Men’s Player award. Ronaldo got the better of Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann in a glittering ceremony in Zurich on Monday.
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While winning the Champions League with Real Madrid after scoring bags of goals would have been more than enough to put him on the shortlist, what tilted the voting in Ronaldo’s favour was the fact that his national team – Portugal – went on to win the Euro 2016 title.
In the favourites column of very few people, Portugal, on the back of a wonderfully-marshalled defence, and Ronaldo’s brilliance, went on to win the European Championships, beating France in the final.
Thanks to that effort, and combined with the Champions League success, Ronaldo has no doubts that 2016 was the best ever year in his professional career.
“I have said it a few times – this has probably been the best year of my career,” Ronaldo told Fifa’s official website. “Having won the trophy with the national team obviously plays a big part in it, since it was a first for Portugal and this makes 2016 a very special year.
“But there is also Real Madrid winning the Champions League and then the Club World Cup to finish the year in the best possible manner. It was a spectacular year, a truly special one. I have no doubt that it has been my best since I have started to play football.”
Ronaldo feels the fact that he is the first-ever winner of the newly-minted The Best Fifa awards makes the recognition that extra bit special.
“It is the first time that FIFA organises this award and this makes it even more special,” Ronaldo said. “It is an enormous privilege for me.”
While team trophies might come first, being recognised for his talents is a major motivation for the former Manchester United forward, who believes he has etched his name in history thanks to another stunning year.
“I have no doubt that I am already a part of football’s history,” Ronaldo added. “This has always been my major goal, since I started playing – not only to become a player, but to be a star and constantly strive to be the best.
“And I did it – the trophies speak for themselves, both the titles, the individual awards, the records. It is a reason of great pride and it motivates me to keep on working the same way I have been doing so far.”