Portugal star striker Cristiano Ronaldo, who is the frontrunner to clinch UEFA Best Player in Europe award, has labelled the 2015-16 season as one of the finest of his professional football career.
The 31-year-old believes the arrival of new French coach Zinedine Zidane has played a key role in bringing laurels to the club.
Ronaldo, the 2013-14 winner of the prize, inspired Real Madrid to the Champions League glory with a 5-3 win over Atletico Madrid in a dramatic penalty shootout before winning Euro 2016 with Portugal following a 1-0 win after extra time against host France.
“(Last season) it was one of the best in my career, arguably the best if measured by trophies won. We struggled early on but (coach Zinedine) Zidane’s arrival was key to revitalise the squad,” Ronaldo was quoted as saying by Marca.
Ronaldo is bidding to equal Barcelona’s Lionel Messi with the most UEFA accolades since the inception of the prize in 2011. “It’s a privilege for me to compete against Bale and Griezmann for this award,” Ronaldo added.
“I am honoured to be the only player that has been among the three finalists every single year.Winning the award would be a big deal for me, although I prefer winning collective titles (with Madrid and Portugal),” he said.
Earlier, UEFA had named Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Antoine Griezmann as its final three nominees for this year’s coveted gong.
The winner will now be announced in Monaco on August 25 when the draw for the Champions League group stage will be made.