Cristiano Ronaldo may be with Juventus now, but his exploits with Real Madrid have earned him another pair of honors.
Cristiano Ronaldo may be with Juventus now, but his exploits with Real Madrid have earned him another honor–just not the one he has become accustomed to winning.
Ronaldo was named UEFA's Best forward on Thursday at the Champions League draw in Monaco, but it was his teammate, Luka Modric, who won UEFA's Best Male Player honors, leading a sweep of individual honors for the three-time reigning European champion. Keylor Navas won Best Goalkeeper, Sergio Ramos won Best Defender, Modric won Best Midfielder and Ronaldo earned the title of Best Forward.
Ronaldo beat fellow finalists Lionel Messi and Mohamed Salah to be named top striker, while Modric topped Salah and Ronaldo for the overall best player award. Ronaldo had won the last two UEFA Best Player awards and three out of the last four.
Modric, meanwhile continued his award-winning year after earning the World Cup Golden Ball for leading Croatia to a shocking appearance in the final at Russia 2018.
He managed to best Ronaldo, the 33-year-old Portuguese star led all players with 15 Champions League goals, extending his all-time record in the competition to 120 and marking his seventh straight Champions League campaign with double-digit scoring. One of his 15 goals was a sensational bicycle kick against Juventus in the quarterfinals in Turin, which was voted as UEFA's goal of the season earlier this week.
As for the other individual awards, Navas bested ex-Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon (now with PSG) and ex-Roma goalkeeper Alisson (now with Liverpool) for the goalkeeping honors; Ramos beat a pair of his teammates, Marcelo and Raphael Varane, for the top defensive recognition; and Modric got the better of his teammate, Toni Kroos, and Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne to win the midfield honors for a second straight year.
The award-winning quartet helped Real Madrid to a fourth Champions League title in five seasons, but the Spanish power won't have the same continuity this season. Manager Zinedine Zidane stepped away and was replaced by Julen Lopetegui, while Ronaldo exited in a blockbuster transfer to Juventus. Navas, meanwhile, is expected to lose his starting role to Belgium No. 1 Thibaut Courtois, who was signed from Chelsea in another major summer move.