Cristiano Ronaldo edged Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale and Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann to to the the UEFA Best Player in 2015/16 season in an award held on Thursday in Monaco, France.
Ronaldo who enjoyed a blistering season for both club and country in the year under review was regarded as top favourite in the roster that had fellow Real Madrid teammates Gareth Bale, Pepe and Toni Kroos prior to the final three man shortlist.
The UEFA Best Player was selected by a panel of 55 sports journalists. One from each member association. The Portuguese bagged 40 off the 55 votes by member nations to claim the top prize. Griezmann claimed the second spot with eight votes, one vote better that Gareth Bale in third place.
The former Manchester United man led Real Madrid to a UEFA Champions League triumph in May before taking Portugal in the capacity of a captain to the final of the Euro 2016 success, beating host nation France to the trophy.
Ronaldo enjoyed another spectacular year in 2015/16, surpassing the 50-goal mark for the sixth consecutive season with Real Madrid. He was the Champions League’s top scorer with a record-equalling 16 goals, and his decisive penalty clinched the trophy during the final in Milan.
The trio received the most votes from journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations, finishing ahead of Barcelona duo Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in the initial shortlist. Messi took the prize for 2014/15.
Bale averaged a goal every 92 minutes in La Liga last season and played a vital role on Real Madrid’s route to Champions League glory. He provided the assist for Sergio Ramos’ opening goal in the final against Atletico.
Weeks late, Bale inspired Wales to the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time in their history, scoring three goals to help finish top of their group at Euro 2016 before his dazzling display in Wales’ famous 3-1 win over Belgium in the quarter-finals.
The Euro 2016 MVP nad top scorer produced a fantastic campaign for Atletico Madrid, finishing last season with 22 La Liga goals as the capital club finished just three points behind champions Barcelona. He added seven goals in 13 games in the UEFA CL before losing to Ronaldo and Bale in the final staged in Milan.
Griezmann’s displays for the 2016 Euros host France was key to Le Blues’ soft sail to the final of the tournament. The striker scored six times to clinch the tournament’s best player award as the hosts finished runners-up behind Ronaldo’s Portugal.