The accolades keep coming for Cristiano Ronaldo, but the latest award will arguably give him even more pride than the coveted third Ballon d’Or trophy he recently picked up. That’s after the 29-year-old was named as the best player in the history of Portuguese football.
As noted by Marca, Ronaldo fought off some pretty fierce competition to land the gong, ousting both Luis Figo and Eusebio in the voting at the Gala Quinas de Ouro, an event staged to honour the 100th anniversary of the Portuguese Football Federation.
Here’s a reminder of why Ronaldo keeps such iconic company:
Eusebio, who sadly passed away in 2014, fired Benfica to European glory in the early days of his career. The man dubbed the “Black Panther” also shone at the 1966 World Cup, helping Portugal to third place; it’s a result which remains the nation’s best ever performance in the tournament to date.
Here’s a look at some of his best moments from that competition:
Figo was also a wonderful footballer. The winger picked up myriad distinguished honours for Barcelona, Real Madrid and Internazionale, including the 2002 Champions League with Los Blancos. He also played 127 times for A Seleccao, more than any other play in the nation's history.
Here are some of his career highlights:
It’s difficult to compare players throughout generations, but with two European Cups already under his belt as well as four league titles, it’s difficult to argue with the accolade going Ronaldo's way. His very recent goalscoring exploits—31 goals in 22 games this season, per WhoScored—were also surely a critical factor in the voting process.
Ronaldo has yet to show his very best form at a major tournament for Portugal, but at the start of an exciting new era for the nation under the tutelage of Fernando Santos, he'll be hoping for many more opportunities yet. You'd certainly back the Madeira born star—currently on 118 caps—to surpass Figo's all-time appearance record.