Cristiano Ronaldo hailed ‘the perfect end’ to a stellar 2016 after his hat-trick sealed the Club World Cup title for Real Madrid.The Portuguese star scored from the penalty spot and twice more in extra-time as La Liga’s leaders finally saw off the challenge of Japanese underdogs Kashima Antlers 4-2 in Yokohama.
Ronaldo was crowned the Ballon d’Or winner for a fourth time last week thanks to some brilliant performance for the club and the country.
Ronaldo did endure a run of four matches without a goal in La Liga in October – his joint-worst run since he joined Real in 2009 from Manchester United – but normal service was quickly resumed.
“People often talk too much, but I’m used to that,” the 31-year-old said. “Everyone always expects more from Cristiano.
Ronaldo recently signed a lucrative new contract until 2021 and scored three more goals to fire Real to a 4-2 extra-time triumph over Kashima Antlers in the Club World Cup final.
“It is a privilege to score goals for this club,” Ronaldo said. “It is very difficult to choose one goal. I have scored a lot of important goals. Maybe it’s not the goal you’re expecting, but it was decisive: The penalty in the last Champions League. It is not the typical goal, but it was very important.”
On his relationship with coach Zidane, Ronaldo said he valued the “special moments” he could share with someone he had previously admired as a player.
“[Zidane] is a player who is part of the history of Real Madrid and he is now the first-team coach,” Ronaldo said. “I admired him as a player and today I admire him as a person and as a coach. I have a special affection for him.
“It was in his first year and winning the Champions League was something spectacular for him on a personal level, a dream come true. After winning the Champions League, we talked and there were special moments — and it was fun after winning a game as exciting as that final. We were both very excited.”
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Champions League, the Euro, the Ballon d’Or and the FIFA Club World Cup in 2016:
- Real Madrid beat Kashima Antlers 4-2 in FIFA Club World Cup final in Japan
- Cristiano Ronaldo was the hero by netting three goals for the Spanish giants
- It was the 40th hat-trick Ronaldo has scored in competitive games for Real
- Ronaldo has scored three trebles this season and six in the calendar year
- He has won both the Champions League and European Championship in 2016