This Week In Soccer Biz: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Magnificent 2016 – Forbes

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The rivalry between #CR7 and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has gone back and forward for close to a decade since the two players finished second and third respectively in the voting for the 2007 Ballon d’Or.

The intense rivalry has also been played out through the lens of their respective clubs, Real Madrid and Barcelona and to a lesser extent their countries, Portugal and Real Madrid.

Each has pushed the other to ever greater individual and team accomplishments and soccer has never seen two players battle each other so hard at the peak of their powers.

Since 2007 other players unfortunate enough to be playing at the same time as these two giants have been relegated to also-rans.

In any other era, the likes of Andrés Iniesta and Xavi (both of Barcelona), Franck Ribéry and Manuel Neuer (both Bayern Munich) would have been recognized as the best of the world but all have been left behind in the goal trail blazed by Ronaldo and Messi.

This year it has fallen to Atletico Madrid’s French international Antoine Griezmann to round out the top three nominations.

Each year fans of Ronaldo and Messi have been able to build reasonable cases as to why their favorite should be considered the world’s best over the last twelve months.

But not this year, not in 2016. In 2016 there has been Cristiano Ronaldo and the rest. It is has been a phenomenal week in a magnificent year for Cristiano Ronaldo.

Here is how Ronaldo’s 2016 unfolded.

Cristiano Ronaldo: I knew I’d score Champions League-winning penalty – Sky Sports

In May, Ronaldo scored the winning penalty kick for Real Madrid after the Champions League Final against Atletico Madrid finished in a 1-1 draw after extra time and the match went to a penalty kick decider.

It was the 11th European Cup win for Real Madrid and the team’s second in three seasons.

Subsequently, Ronaldo donated his entire Champions League bonus of over $650,000 to charity.

The conclusion of the domestic season also marked the sixth straight season in which Ronaldo scored more than 50 goals in all competitions.

(Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

At Euro 2016 Final, Portugal loses Ronaldo but defeats France – New York Times

Just six weeks after winning the Champions League, Portugal beat France in the final of the 2016 European Championship. Ronaldo went off injured after just 24 minutes of the final but Portugal rallied to win 1-0 in extra time.

Ronaldo went off injured after just 24 minutes of the final but Portugal rallied to win 1-0 in extra time.

During the tournament, Ronaldo set a new record for Euro appearances and he also became the first player to score in four straight European Championship finals.

He also equaled Michel Platini’s record for goals scored at the Euro finals and was awarded the Silver Boot as the second highest scorer at Euro 2016.

(Photo by Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images)

Why Cristiano Ronaldo’s $1 Billion Nike Deal May Be A Bargain For Sportswear Giant – Forbes.com

In November, Nike and Ronaldo announced a lifetime deal – only the third such like arrangement after LeBron James and Michael Jordan. Ronaldo first signed with Nike in 2003 and his new deal could be worth up to $1B.

One of the many Nike products named and endorsed by Ronaldo  (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Nike)

World’s Highest-Paid Athlete Cristiano Ronaldo Signs New Real Madrid Contract – Forbes.com

The money kept flowing with Real Madrid and Ronaldo agreeing to a new deal through to June 2021. Ronaldo’s existing contract was set to expire at the end of the 2018 season. With bonuses, the new deal is expected to maintain Ronaldo’s $50M a year income from Real Madrid alone.

Contract day –  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid holds a press conference after signing a new five-year contract (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)

Cristiano Ronaldo named Player of the Year – World Soccer

December started very well with the renowned monthly soccer magazine World Soccer announcing Ronaldo as its Player of the Year for the fourth time after wins in 2008, 2013 and 2014. There were 130 votes separating the Real Madrid star and Lionel Messi.

Cristiano Ronaldo wins fourth Ballon d’Or – World Soccer

Last Monday it was announced that Ronaldo had won the coveted Ballon d’Or. His Ballon d’Or wins mimic the years he has led the voting for World Soccer’s top award.

Ronaldo scores his 500th professional club goal – AS

Just a few days later, playing in the semi-final of the FIFA Club World Cup against Club America of Mexico, Ronaldo notched his 500th professional goal. Five goals came while playing for Sporting in Portugal, 118 with Manchester United and 377 for Real Madrid.

Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (L) celebrates with his teammate Lucas Vazquez after winning the Club World Cup semi-final football match against Club America of Mexico (Photo credit BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

Ronaldo treble fires Madrid to Club World Cup glory – UEFA.com

On Sunday, Ronaldo added to his goal tally once again with a hat-trick against Japan’s Kashima Antlers 4-2 in the FIFA Club World Cup Final. The first was from the penalty spot and pulled Real Madrid level at 2-2. Two goals in injury time by Ronaldo sealed the win for Real Madrid. The win over Kashima Antlers extended Real Madrid’s unbeaten run to 37 games.

Cristiano Ronaldo scores a penalty during the Club World Cup football final match against Kashima Antlers (Photo credit TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)

Ronaldo, Modric, and Shibasaki sweep awards – FIFA.com

Sunday’s FIFA World Cup win was the third for Ronaldo after winning the competition with Manchester United 2008 and two years ago with Real Madrid. This time he took home the player of the tournament award after scoring four goals.

Real Madrid’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo holds the Golden Ball trophy (Photo credit  BEHROUZ MEHRI/AFP/Getty Images)

What’s next? 2017 is certain to get off to a flier for Ronaldo.

On January 9 in Zurich, FIFA will announce the Best FIFA Men’s Player for 2016 as part of the newly instituted The Best FIFA Football Awards. Lionel Messi and Antione Griezmann have also been nominated but Cristiano Ronaldo is a shoe-in for yet another award.

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