What a year it has been for Cristiano Ronaldo. He won Champions League trophy with Real Madrid and the Euro with his country in France to complete an unforgettable 2015/16 season. While he has won the Champions League before (with Manchester United) but winning the highest honour in Europe for his country has to be Ronaldo’s biggest achievement till date.
Euro 2016: Player of the Tournament
If Ronaldo is the epitome of success at the highest level, on the other end of the spectrum, there is Antoine Griezmann. The Atletico Madrid superstar ended up as runners-up in the Champions League final and finished second best in front of home supporters in Euro as well. On an individual level, Griezmann was superb for France, scoring six goals and rightly deserves the Player of the Tournament award.
Euro 2016: Young Player of the Tournament
— UEFA EURO 2016 (@UEFAEURO) July 10, 2016
Bayern Munich’s Renato Sanches received a prestigious individual honour after he was named Young Player of the Tournament.
Sanches, 18, started the Euro campaign as one of Fernando Santos’ reserve players but made his away into the starting XI after producing a virtuoso performance in the last 16 against Croatia.
He became the competition’s third youngest goalscorer when he scored against Poland and produced excellent performances against Wales and France.
Euro 2016: Team of the Tournament
Goalkeeper: Rui Patricio – Conceded three goals against Hungary in group stages but was terrific in the knockout rounds, especially against France in the Euro final.
Central defence: Pepe – Missed the semi-final clash with Wales but produced a stunning performance against France in the final. He was immense at the back for Portugal.
Central defence: Giorgio Chiellini – He was superbly aided by Juventus team-mates Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci with Gianluigi Buffon behind him in goal but the 31-year-old was the best of the lot. A true leader at the back.
Right back: Joshua Kimmich – He is only 21 but the Bayern Munich defender has shown maturity beyond years. He has a bright future ahead of him.
Left back: Raphael Guerreiro – Started shakily but grew into confidence with every single game. The 22-year-old was defensively solid and a constant threat going forward.
Central Midfield: Toni Kroos – The Real Madrid star was arguably the best player for Germany in Euro 2016. Passing, creativity, defensive work – he was the midfield metronome for Joachim Low’s team.
Central Midfield: Renato Sanches – Poland’s Grzegorz Krychowiak was terrific throughout Euro but Sanches slightly gets the nod for his top performance in knockout games including the final.
Attacking Midfield: Dimitri Payet – The West Ham star was terrific in group stages; scored the winner against Romania in the dying minutes of the match. He created the highest goal scoring chances record at the tournament with 24 however couldn’t influence much in the final.
Attacking Midfield: Aaron Ramsey – While Bale gets the hype because of his goals but the Arsenal midfielder was equally brilliant for his side. His absence in the semi-final was terribly felt.
Attacking midfield: Antoine Griezmann – Scored six goals and rightly adjudged the Player of the Tournament. Perhaps, he could have done better in the final.
Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo – Why Ronaldo? Simply because he played as a forward and no other strikers have had an immense impact. At least, he scored two wonderful goals including a terrific spot jump header against Wales in the semi-final.
Euro 2016 Final XI: Patricio, Pepe, Chiellini, Kimmich, Guerreiro, Kroos, Sanches, Payet, Ramsey, Griezmann, Ronaldo