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Ronaldo, Griezmann Or Bale: Who Will Win The UEFA European Player Of The Year

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The big question as to who among the trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Antonine Griezmann and Gareth Bale will win the UEFA European Best Player, will be announced today as the Champion’s League group stage draw for the 2016/2017 takes place in Monaco today.

The trio received the most votes from journalists from each of UEFA’s 55 member associations, finishing ahead of Barcelona duo Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi and Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon in the initial shortlist.

Messi took the prize for 2014/15, but will it be Bale, Griezmann or Ronaldo this year? Ahead of Thursday’s announcement, we weigh up the arguments for and against each of the contenders…

Gareth Bale’s 2015/16 Stats

Competition                         Appearances           Goals               Assist
La Liga                                       21(2)                19                    10
Champions League                       8                      0                       3
Euro 2016                                   6                      3                       1

Gareth BaleFor

Bale averaged a goal every 92 minutes in La Liga and played a vital role on Real Madrid’s route to Champions League glory. He got the assist for Sergio Ramos’ opening goal in the final against Atletico, and scored his penalty in the shoot-out despite suffering from cramp.

A few weeks later, the 27-year-old inspired Wales to the semi-finals of a major tournament for the first time in their history. Bale scored three goals as Chris Coleman’s side topped their group at Euro 2016, and he earned widespread plaudits for his dazzling display in Wales’ famous 3-1 win over Belgium in the quarter-finals.

Against

While his La Liga scoring rate was impressive, Bale missed a sizeable chunk of the campaign due to injuries. He therefore fell well short of Ronaldo’s goals total, and the Portuguese superstar remains the main man at the Bernabeu. Despite his efforts at Euro 2016, he was left out of UEFA’s team of the tournament.

Antoine Griezmann’s 2015/16 stats

Competition                         Appearances           Goals               Assist

La Liga                                       36(2)                  22                    5
Champions League                      13                        7                    1
Euro 2016                                    6(1)                   6                     2

griezmannFor

Griezmann produced another stellar campaign for Atletico Madrid, top scoring with 22 La Liga goals as they finished just three points behind champions Barcelona. The forward became a talisman and a leader for Diego Simeone’s side, adding seven goals in 13 games before Atletico were cruelly beaten in the Champions League final.

His performances for France at Euro 2016 were even better. Griezmann scored twice as many goals (six) as any other player, and he won the tournament’s best player award as the hosts finished runners-up.

Against

Atletico’s top marksman was outscored by five players in La Liga last season, and for all the individual acclaim, he finished the campaign without silverware. Atletico’s Champions League dream was ended by their bitter rivals, and Griezmann was unable to prevent France’s defeat to Portugal in the Euro 2016 final.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2015/16 stats

Competition                         Appearances           Goals               Assist

La Liga                                        36                      35                    11

Champion’s League                      12                      16                     4

Euro 2016                                     7                        3                     2

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For

Ronaldo enjoyed another spectacular year in 2015/16, surpassing the 50-goal mark for the sixth consecutive season with Real Madrid. He was the Champions League’s top scorer with a record-equalling 16 goals, and his decisive penalty clinched the trophy during the final in Milan.

Ronaldo’s Euro 2016-winning exploits in France further boosted his prospects. The 31-year-old scored three goals and claimed two assists for Fernando Santos’ side. International silverware filled the one remaining gap in his personal trophy cabinet, and he is the strong favourite for the 2016 Ballon d’Or.

Against

With his two-trophy haul and another year of extraordinary goal scoring behind him, it is difficult to argue against Ronaldo. It could be said that age has limited the 31-year-old’s overall influence on the pitch, however, and he only played 25 minutes of the Euro 2016 final due to injury.

A Learner

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