Cristiano Ronaldo: An evergreen icon
Cristiano Ronaldo is a regular at The Best FIFA Football Awards™
Juve's Portuguese star enjoyed another year to remember
Records falling with both club and country
Cristiano Ronaldo must feel right at home at The Best FIFA Football Awards™. A winner in 2016 and 2017, runner-up in 2018 and third in 2019, the Portugal star is a familiar face at the prize ceremony. And after yet another impressive year, it therefore comes as no surprise to see him back among the finalists for The Best FIFA Football Awards™ 2020.
Once again, Ronaldo racked up figures that would be staggering for almost any other player, not least scoring 35 goals in 31 matches (up to 12 December), even if stats of that calibre have become routine for a man used to hoovering up records.
Ronaldo's year in brief
Serie A winner
Coppa Italia runner-up
UEFA Champions League round of 16
Second highest scorer in Serie A
First player to score 50 goals in the Premier League, Liga and Serie A
Juventus's record scorer in a single season (37 goals in 2019/20)
First European player to reach 100 international goals
All-time second highest international scorer behind Ali Daei
Ronaldo's year in pictures
Cristiano Ronaldo: 2020 in images
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Juventus against Barcelona
Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring for Juventus against Barcelona.
Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring against Cagliari in Serie A
imago images / Gribaudi/ImagePhoto Mg Torino 21/11/2020 - campionato di calcio serie A / Juventus-Cagliari / foto Matteo Gribaudi/Image nella foto: e...
6 January 2020 Serie A, 18th matchday Juventus 4-0 Cagliari
Having joined Juventus a year and a half before, Ronaldo had already terrorised plenty of Serie A defenders – but was yet to grab a hat-trick in Italy's top flight. The Portugal forward put that right at the start of 2020 with Sardinian outfit Cagliari as his victims. Ronaldo found the back of the net three times, burying shots with his right and left feet and converting a penalty to become just the second player to notch trebles in the Premier League, Liga and Serie A after Chile's Alexis Sanchez. Not content with that, he also delivered an assist to Gonzalo Higuain as Juve ran out 4-0 winners. Having moved top of the standings the previous week, _La Vecchia Signora_never left the summit as Ronaldo went on to clinch a seventh league title overall and second in Italy.
8 September 2020 UEFA Nations League, Group A, 2nd matchday Sweden 0-2 Portugal
Sixteen years after his maiden international goal, Ronaldo celebrated his 100th – and swiftly added a 101st for good measure. Firing in a superb free-kick and a wonderful lob, he registered both of Portugal's goals in a victory against Sweden and became the first European player in history to reach a century of international strikes. He is the sole men's player currently active to have passed that landmark, and has since upped his tally to 102 goals in 170 caps. Only Iran's Ali Daei has ever scored more in the men's game, and his total of 109 now looks under serious threat. With UEFA EURO 2020 on the horizon as well as the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, surely it is just a matter of time before Portugal's all-time leading scorer adds the honour of becoming the all-time record marksman on the international stage.
8 December 2020 UEFA Champions League, Group G, 6th matchday Barcelona 0-3 Juventus
It is nigh on impossible to mention one without the other. The rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi has undoubtedly been the most enthralling subplot of the last 15 years in the world of football. Since Ronaldo left Real Madrid, it has become a rare occurrence to see the duo go head to head, and fans were deprived a reunion in October when the Juventus ace missed his side's Champions League meeting with Barcelona due to COVID-19. That meant all eyes were on the return game as the rival geniuses locked horns with their teams already through to the last 16. Messi was kept quiet for Los Blaugrana, but Ronaldo slotted in a pair of penalties to help _I Bianconeri_seal first place and extend his own lead at the top of the all-time European Cup goal standings: 134 to 118.
What he said
"To win Serie A again in such a difficult year is something we're very proud of. On a personal level, to score 37 goals for Juventus and 11 for the national team makes me look to the future with renewed ambition and the desire to do better and better each year."
"750 goals, 750 happy moments, 750 smiles in the faces of our supporters. Thank you to all the players and coaches that helped me reach this amazing number, thank you to all my loyal opponents that made me work harder and harder every day."
What they said
"Messi the talent, Ronaldo the hard work... I've been hearing that for 15 years and, frankly, for me it's nonsense. Messi has a gift from the heavens, for sure. He's one of the best in history, if not the best, but to tell me that Cristiano is all about hard work rather than talent… what does that mean? Does it mean that if I'd worked as hard as him, I'd be just as good? No, that's not possible. Cris has so much, so much talent. He's worked enormously hard, yes, more than everyone else even, but you can't contrast them in terms of talent. You can't reduce his entire career to hard work." Medhi Benatia
"He's a unique talent. What he does in games, his statistics – everything about him is exceptional. He's a competitor in training and you can see that on the pitch. He has so many qualities in his game. What makes him stand out from others is that he excels in every aspect. On top of that, he's a really nice person. He really is very kind and thoughtful." Danilo
"He can play until he's 40. He's someone who looks after himself, eats right, rests right and lives for football. He's the best professional I ever played with." Ryan Giggs
"What makes him an extraordinary player, beyond his technique, is his consistency. He never lets the slightest detail go against him. We come back from away trips at two in the morning and, at three, he changes and jumps into cold water to recover. He's always focused on being the best. He's a war machine." Leonardo Bonucci
All winners, including those of the FIFA Fan Award and the FIFA Fair Play Award, will be crowned on 17 December 2020 in a TV show broadcast live, starting at 19:00 CET.
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