Published On: Wed, Aug 24th, 2016

Griezmann: I deserve Best Player in Europe award over Ronaldo, Bale

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Antoine Griezmann isn’t trying to cause a stir. He simply recognizes how dominant he was last season.

The Atletico Madrid striker believes he is most worthy of the UEFA Best Player in Europe award, saying he should beat out fellow finalists Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale when the hardware is handed out during the Champions League group stage draw on Thursday.

“I was very happy and very proud (to be nominated),” Griezmann said in an interview with World Soccer. “It means that I’m on the right track to be among the best. I have to keep going that way, keep working hard and giving joy to people when I play.

“Without being big-headed, I think I deserve it because I had a great season with my club and with the national team. Maybe I deserve to win the award.”

He’s not wrong.

Griezmann, 25, spearheaded Atletico last season, scoring 29 goals between La Liga and the Champions League, leading his side to the final of the latter competition where the Rojiblancos ultimately fell on penalties to rival Real – and Ronaldo.

Griezmann followed that up by capturing the Golden Boot at Euro 2016, finding the net six times as France reached the final before being stunned by Portugal. It was a season of heartbreak for the diminutive attacker, but his campaign speaks for itself despite the disappointing lack of silverware that he came within inches of capturing.

Though Bale was talismanic during Wales’ historic Euro 2016 semi-final run, Ronaldo seems most likely to benefit if Griezmann is denied this individual award.

It’s hard to overlook the type of trophy-laden season the Portuguese megastar enjoyed, after all.

Ronaldo, still recovering from a knee injury suffered in the Euro 2016 final, called it a “privilege” to be nominated once again, and is looking to claim the award for a second time following his 2014 triumph.

“In terms of trophies, it was possibly the best year of my career. After winning the Champions League, winning the European Championship with my country capped an extraordinary year for me,” he said.

Other recent winners include Lionel Messi (2011 and 2015), Andres Iniesta (2013), and Franck Ribery (2012).

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