Cristiano Ronaldo has been included in a Portugal-heavy list of nominees for the 2017-18 UEFA Goal of the Season for his overhead kick for former club Real Madrid against current side Juventus.
It meant Gareth Bale’s similar effort in the Champions League final victory over Liverpool for Los Blancos was not among the nominees as the 11 on the list are each from one of UEFA’s 11 different competition’s from the previous season.
Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen was among the nominees as his excellent finish capped off a wonderful counterattack for Denmark against the Republic of Ireland in a World Cup qualifying playoff. Dimitri Payet was also on the list for his impressive dribble and long-range strike in Marseille’s 5-2 win over RB Leipzig in the Europa League quarterfinals.
There were two Brits on the list as Lucy Bronze was included for her volley in Lyon’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in the Women’s Champions League semifinals. England’s Elliot Embleton is in with a chance for his left-foot finish against Turkey in the European Under-19 Championship.
Another three candidates were included for goals scored in a variety of youth tournaments. Spain’s Olga Carmona secured a place with her strike against Switzerland in the European Women’s U 19 Championship group stage.
Paulo Estrela finished off after being wonderfully set up in Porto’s 5-1 victory over Besiktas in the UEFA Youth League group stage and Goncalo Ramos’ clever finish for Portugal against Slovenia in the European U 17 Championship earned him a nomination.
Eva Navarro’s curling effort for Spain in the 2-0 victory over Germany in the European Women’s U 17 Championship final won her a place on the list.
Meanwhile, Portugal’s Futsal icon Ricardinho made it on the list for his rabona finish during a 4-1 win over Romania in the EURO group stage, with Elisandro receiving a nomination following a powerful left-footed finish in Inter FS’ 5-2 win over Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Futsal Cup final.
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri says Cristiano Ronaldo’s arrival has sparked an even greater desire for the squad to win the UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldo made his first appearance in a Bianconeri shirt in a 5-0 win over Juve’s reserve side in their annual preseason warm-up game in Villar Perosa on Sunday.
An estimated 4000 fans mobbed the tiny arena in order to see the five-time Ballon d’Or winner in action for the Italian giants for the first time.
And it took just eight minutes for the Portugal captain to appease the travellers.
However, Allegri chose to focus on his overall influence of the squad’s morale and mentality since making the club-record switch from Real Madrid.
“This year, our ambition to win the Champions League is greater than in previous years, as is the desire to win the league, Coppa Italia and Supercoppa, but nobody is going to gift us anything before we’ve won them,” he told Sky Sport Italia.
“It’s normal that Ronaldo brings quality and international experience.
“Above all, Ronaldo can motivate the younger lads to grow, and help the whole club to develop.
“Nobody gifted Real the four Champions Leagues he won there, it was down to everybody working and making sacrifices. We need to do the same.
“People had told me he’s a consummate professional, but results don’t come by chance. We’re talking of a player who has won the Ballon d’Or five times and been top scorer many times.
“He always wants to win and this proves that Juventus have signed a great player, both on the field but especially off it.”