Ronaldo ‘confident’ of Ballon d’Or after wiping smile off French faces

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Real Madrid’s Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his third goal during the Spanish league football match Club Atletico de Madrid vs Real Madrid CF at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid, on November 19, 2016. Real Madrid won 3-0.
GERARD JULIEN / AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo says he feels confident of winning a fourth Ballon d’Or title after a stellar year in which Portugal wiped the smiles off French faces at Euro 2016.

The 31-year-old Real Madrid striker said in an interview published in Tuesday’s edition of France Football that ‘Les Bleus’ “thought they were going to easily win” and “smiled a lot” before the final in Stade de France last July.

But the ultimate prize went to Portugal who won their first international trophy following a game which was also the scene of “the greatest sadness” of three-time world player of the year Ronaldo’s career.

Ronaldo left the pitch in tears, forced off with a knee injury in the first half.

“I couldn’t bend my leg… It wasn’t going to be the final that I dreamed of, I could no longer play,” he recalled with sadness.

The Portuguese football federation on Friday published a video in which the international captain, barechested in the changing room, thanked coach Fernando Santos, his teammates and staff, for “the happiest moment of (his) life.”

The France Football interview is headlined “Griezmann told me: ‘I hate you'” without the weekly magazine revealing further details before it hits the news stands.

Concerning his bid for a fourth world footballer of the year title, Ronaldo said he felt “rather confident and relaxed” after what he called the best season of his career, in which he also won the Champions League with Real Madrid.

Ronaldo — Ballon d’Or winner in 2008, 2013 and 2014 — is overwhelming favourite to reclaim the award in January after finishing top scorer in the Champions League with 16 goals, as well as his Euro 2016 title.

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