Ronaldo revels in praising himself
Cristiano Ronaldo said he had answered his critics in style as he rounded off a “spectacular” year with a hattrick to win the Club World Cup for Real Madrid and add to his multitude of titles.
After his heroics floored Japan’s Kashima Antlers 4-2 in extra time on Sunday, the Portuguese superstar summed up a remarkable season in which he also lifted the Champions League, Super Cup, Euro 2016 and Ballon d’Or trophies.
“They always expect more of Cristiano,” said Ronaldo.
“It’s been a week full of joy after winning the Ballon d’Or too. I thank my teammates because without them Cristiano couldn’t win these individual awards.”
Ronaldo showed why he was voted the world’s best player for a fourth time last week, but there were moments of the self-indulgence that makes him such a polarizing figure.
In the first half, he even tripped himself up as he attempted one of his trademark stepovers.
But as a tense final went into the extra period, Real’s superstar pounced twice to bring the Spanish giant a second world title in three years and fifth in total.
It capped an astonishing year in which Ronaldo helped
They always expect more of Cristiano. People criticize me often, but I’m used to it.” Cristiano Ronaldo
Real become champion of Europe for an 11th time, added a Super Cup and led Portugal to a stunning European championship triumph.
“The stats don’t lie, as always,” boasted the player of the tournament, referring to last week’s Ballon d’Or award, which put him one behind fierce rival Lionel Messi’s record five.
“People criticize me often, but I’m used to it,” added the 31-year-old, who scored his 500th career club goal in Madrid’s 2-0 semifinal win over Mexico’s Club America.
“I’ve shown my quality on the pitch for many years and I had a spectacular season for Real Madrid and Portugal.”
His preening style and pouty social-media photos showing off his six-pack can grate, but Ronaldo is pure box office.
A crowd of 68,000 in Yokohama marveled at his showboating, even if his teammates weren’t so enthralled.
It was inevitable at a tournament where FIFA trialed video referees for the first time in official competition that Ronaldo was central to that plotline, too.
When his semifinal strike was briefly reviewed — by accident, after a video official inadvertently kept his finger on the intercom button to alert the referee to a possible offside — Ronaldo’s face turned to thunder.
Moments later, he was grinning broadly, order restored as the referee confirmed his 377 th goal in 366 games for Real — now 380 in 367.
After its tiring trip to Japan, La Liga leader Real finally gets some time off before it hosts Granada on Jan 7.
But as Real savored another piece of silverware, disgruntled forward James Rodriguez faced a gloomy return flight on Monday.
Rodriguez, who has struggled for starts in coach Zinedine Zidane’s team, hinted at leaving in the January transfer window.
But captain Sergio Ramos had a blunt message for the Colombian: “Today was a day to be happy and satisfied, not to focus on other matters.”
Cristiano Ronaldo poses with the Golden Ball trophy after his hat-trick helped Real Madrid overcome the Kashima Antlers 4-2 after extra time in Sunday’s FIFA Club World Cup final at International Stadium in Yokohama, Japan.