On March 12, I wrote "How Cristiano Ronaldo can Win the Player of the Year Award." In that article, I stated four major milestones that he would have to successfully overcome in order to cement his status as the world's best: win the Champions League and/or La Liga, beat Barcelona, keep the goals coming, and win Euro 2012.
Here's how he did:
Champion's League: While Real Madrid didn't improve on its semifinal finish from the previous campaign, it did walk away with more pride, having lost to Bayern Munich on a 3-3 aggregate rather than 3-1 against arch-enemies Barcelona.
Individually, Ronaldo improved on his performance. In 2010/2011, he was in a three-way tie with Karim Benzema and Roberto Soldado for fifth place, having scored just six goals. In the most recent campaign, however, he'd moved up to third place with 10 goals scored.
La Liga: As we all know, Real Madrid won this, ending Barcelona's streak of three in a row. However, both teams were tied with one domestic El Classico win apiece.
Goals, goals, goals: The good news for Ronaldo fans is that he scored 46 goals, beating his previous count of 50. The bad news? Messi scored 50.
Euro 2012: While I wrote that a win would, without a doubt, boost his profile, I also admitted how difficult the European championships are to win. Even more difficult when one remembers that Portugal happened to be in the group of death. After narrowly losing to Germany, and eventually winning against Denmark, Ronaldo scored twice against the Netherlands to propel it into the quarters. The team's run, which eventually ended at the semis, is quite remarkable for a team that had been expected to sink well below Germany and the Netherlands in Group B. Though the Ronaldo penalty kick drama has caused countless debate and parody, I don't think it should take away from his performance in the tournament. He didn't get off to the best start, but I believe his improvement was marked, and he did something that his detractors have long insisted he couldn't do: show up at a major tournament.
So, as it stands, he accomplished some, not all, of the things that would have made him the undisputed player of the year. Yet, let's be honest, some of those goals are a little lofty. That's why I feel that he's done just enough to make a very credible case as this year's best player.
Do you agree? Disagree? Stay tuned for Messi's case.
I've followed football directly and indirectly since I was 5 years old. I still haven't lost my love for the game. I keep up with everything: the weekly league games, domestic cups, Euro championships, and, of course, the international tournaments.
- Sports & Recreation
- La Liga
- Real Madrid
- Bayern Munich