Los 40 USA
NewslettersSign in to commentAPP
spainSPAINchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA

Euro 2016, Bale, Griezmann and Cristiano


Uefa's 13-strong panel of technical observers have selected their ideal XI from the competition: Rui Patricio; Kimmich, Boateng, Pepe, Guerreiro; Kroos, Allen; Griezmann, Ramsey, Payet; Cristiano. This gives a 4-2-3-1 formation. A good team, although as we all have different tastes we are all likely thinking about two or three amendments, or more. For me, I think Boateng would be taken out for the penalty miss and I saw Payet start strong but deteriorate across the tournament and I'd replace him with Bale, of this I have no doubts. His absence for me is glaring. I didn't see another player with such an influence over his team, not even Ramsey.

Gareth Bale leading by example for Wales.
Full screen
Gareth Bale leading by example for Wales.Matthias HangstGetty Images

Griezmann was chosen as the best player, scant consolation for France. I could make a case for it being Pepe but he's a defender and we always give more value to forwards, rightly so. Griezmann was the spearhead of the French attack, he carried the weight of the team, who lived on his goals, and who fell short of expectations. He didn't score in the final, but did draw the save of the match from Rui Paricio from a great header and also saw another sail just over the bar. He was upset to lose the final and is not thinking about the Balón d'Or, which instead he put into the hands of Cristiano, a double European champion this year, along with Pepe.

Cristiano Ronaldo kisses the Euro trophy he was determined to win with his country.
Full screen
Cristiano Ronaldo kisses the Euro trophy he was determined to win with his country.Chris Brunskill LtdGetty Images

Cristiano has been the benchmark for the Euro 2016 winners, just as he was in the Champions League, so it's normal that Griezmann thinks this way. July has given Cristiano another title as well as the status of fallen, and emotional, hero, which directly contrasts with Messi who missed his penalty in the shootout and followed that by retiring from his national team. This is one element that Cristiano is always better than Messi: perseverance. One can't imagine Cristiano so stricken by a defeat (which was actually a draw) that he would hang up his boots. He would always fight to return. This is his strength.