THE CLASS OF 2016

CR7’s Euro­pean dou­ble makes him our Man of the Year, but he wasn’t the only player to en­joy a great 12 months

Australian Four Four Two - - RONALDO -

LIOnEL MESSI

The Flea’s still goal-crazy af­ter all these years, reach­ing 50 for 2016 on Novem­ber 1, al­though Copa Amer­ica agony soured his Barça dou­ble and prompted a brief in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment.

LUIS SUAREZ

Dur­ing 2015-16, Suarez broke Messi and Ron­aldo’s six-year stran­gle­hold on the La Liga Pichichi Tro­phy by scor­ing a frankly lu­di­crous 40 league goals, with 16 as­sists to boot.

RIYAD MAHREZ

Hav­ing de­servedly won both Fans’ and Play­ers’ Player of the Year, the winger un­ex­pect­edly ex­tended his con­tract – then bagged a brace on Le­ices­ter’s Cham­pi­ons League de­but.

GOn­ZALO HIGUAI n

Higuain hit a fi­nal-day hat-trick to equal Serie A’s goalscor­ing record set in 1929. His 36-goal cam­paign – 17 more than his near­est ri­val – led to a $110m move from Napoli to Ju­ven­tus.

An­TOInE GRIEZMAnn

Griezmann’s 2016 brought the Euro 2016 Golden Boot and Golden Ball, two ma­jor fi­nal ap­pear­ances and more goals in 2016-17, all while adapt­ing to a new cen­tral po­si­tion. Not bad.

ROBERT LEWA nDOWSKI

No­body had scored 30 goals in a Bun­desliga sea­son since Star Wars was re­leased. The Pole, though, is in­sa­tiable. He has as many braces and hat-tricks in 2016-17 as he has sin­gle goals.

GARETH BALE

Up­staged in Wales’ in­cred­i­ble Euro 2016 and even in sign­ing a record-break­ing Real Madrid con­tract, Bale seems des­tined to live in Ron­aldo’s shadow. For­tu­nately, he doesn’t agree.

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