Football

Ronaldo confident of Ballon d’Or

Cristiano Ronaldo 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 attacker said in yesterday'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 in 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.

He 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.

HAPPIEST MOMENT

The Portuguese football federation last week published a video in which their captain, bare-chested in the changing room, thanked coach Fernando Santos, his teammates and staff, for "the happiest moment of (my) life."

Ronaldo also recounted his chance meeting with French star Antoine Griezmann in a restaurant shortly after the final.

He told France Football: "It's funny. Because shortly after the final, while I was on vacation in Miami, I met Antoine Griezmann in a restaurant where he was dining with his fiance.

"He came over to my table and said with a sly smile: 'Cristiano, I hate you!'"

Regarding his bid for a fourth World Footballer of the Year crown, 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 the 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. - Wire Services.

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