Real Madrid’s Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU
Cristiano Ronaldo signed off his stellar 2016 in style on Sunday, scoring a hat-trick to lift Real Madrid to Club World Cup glory and underline his status as the world’s best player.
Ronaldo, crowned the Ballon d’Or winner for a fourth time last week, helped Real win the Champions League before leading Portugal to European Championship triumph.
“The statistics don’t lie,” Ronaldo told Real’s website. “I’ve had a great season personally and as part of a team. It was a perfect year.
“I have kept my level of performance as high as possible over the last 10 years. I want to keep working and enjoy my football, that is what I love the most.”
The Portuguese forward is savouring everything that has happened since he converted the winning spot-kick in a penalty shootout against Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final in May.
Ronaldo did endure a run of four matches without a goal in La Liga in October – his joint-worst run since he joined Real in 2009 from Manchester United – but normal service was quickly resumed.
“People often talk too much, but I’m used to that,” the 31-year-old said. “Everyone always expects more from Cristiano.“I always give my best and if I can’t do it, it’s because I’m unable.”
Ronaldo recently signed a lucrative new contract until 2021 and scored three more goals to fire Real to a 4-2 extra-time triumph over Kashima Antlers in the Club World Cup final.
He is hoping to lead his team to their first La Liga title since 2012 next year and to a successful defence of the Champions League.“I’d like to thank my teammates yet again because Cristiano cannot win individual trophies without them,” he said.