Cristiano Ronaldo won the coveted Ballon d’Or, or award for the best footballer in the world, for a fourth time on Monday night. And although some pundits suggested that the Real Madrid star did not deserve to win the award this time around, the reasons he deserved to win far outweigh the negatives.
A true leader
Ronaldo has matured. From the spoilt brat who would pout and berate teammates for not passing to him, Ronaldo has morphed into a genuine leader of men both on and off the pitch.
This newfound maturity was on full display during the EURO 2016 final in Paris. Devastated when injury forced him out of the game in the first-half, instead of sitting in the stands and sulking, Ronaldo was down on the touchline technical area encouraging and cajoling his teammates to victory.
A few weeks earlier in the Champions League final, Ronaldo was the man who stepped up to take the deciding penalty. Supremely confident as always, it was never in doubt that he would score and lead his side to victory. He did.
A successful year for Ronaldo.
The man for the big occasion
Although Barcelona rival Lionel Messi outscored Ronaldo 58 goals to 51, and created more chances for teammates in the calendar year, Ronaldo helped Real Madrid and Portugal to claim the bigger prizes with the Champions League and European Championship.
In the Champions League Ronaldo was unstoppable, netting 11 goals in the group stage. Then, with Madrid 2-0 down to Wolfsburg after the quarterfinal first leg, a fired up Ronaldo took it upon himself to ensure they progressed, bagging a spectacular hat-trick to take Zidane’s men into the semifinal.
The same story played out in the summer. Struggling to find top form during the EURO championships in France, Ronaldo turned up when it mattered. Bagging two goals in the tense 3-3 draw with Hungary that saw Portugal sneak through to the knockout stages, before scoring one and setting up the other in their semifinal win over Wales.
His form in 2016 may not have reached the towering heights of previous years, but even at 80 percent Cristiano Ronaldo is more than a match for most players.
No other player can boast such success over the last year and that is why Ronaldo truly deserves to be crowned the world’s best footballer of the year for 2016.
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