Portugal will face the home team France in the UEFA Euro 2016 final and undoubtedly the most important players are Cristiano Ronaldo and Antoine Griezmann.
After a hesitant start to the competition they have become the two dominant personalities at Euro 2016, the two leading favourites to win the player of the tournament award. Let's take a look at the performances of these two players at the Euros.
Many people say Ronaldo is the only world class player in Portugal's squad and reaching this final is mostly his merit, which is partly true, because his former club teammate Nani contributed to Portugal's route to final as well as other players like Pepe, or Bayern's starlet Renato Sanches.
Ronaldo definitely played a big part in these performances, he scored 3 goals and provided 3 assists, playing in all 6 games and all the minutes. He has the the best shots/game ratio with 7.5, the rest being far behind (Bale 4.3 and De Bruyne 4.2).
He is the first player to score at four different European Championship tournaments, and with his goal in the semi-final against Wales he levelled Platini's record of most goals at the Euros, both having 9 goals at the moment, but Ronaldo will have a chance to take the lead if he scores in the final.
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Wales(source: mirror.co.uk)
His best games were against Hungary and Wales. The first was the crucial game in the group stage of the competition, which allowed Portugal to go to the knockout stage. Ronaldo scored 2 goals both times equalising (2-2 and 3-3). In the semi-final against Wales he turned out to be again Portugal's hero scoring the first goal after a fantastic header and assisting Nani for the second goal.
Besides his goals he was the leader Portugal needed in the key moments, he sacrificed himself, in order to help the team. He did everything that was needed, he placed the team on the first place, a thing he doesn't always did at Real Madrid.
This will be his second European Championship final with Portugal after losing the 2004 final against Greece on home soil. This is one of his last chance to win something for his country.
Griezmann's situation is different from that of Ronaldo, as France began the Euros with a number of world class players besides Griezmann, like Dimitri Payet or Paul Pogba. Nevertheless Griezmann turned out to be the most important.
He contributed to the team's performance with 6 goals and 2 assists, leading the top scorers list and it's hard to believe that anyone will catch up with him.
Antoine Griezmann vs Germany(source: indianexpress.com)
Griezmann had less than half of Ronaldo's attempts 22 and 12 of this were on target (the same amount as Ronaldo) being much more efficient.
Griezmann scored the first goal in the 2-0 victory against Albania, he scored a beautiful goal against Iceland in the quarter-final and he added 2 goals in the round of 16 against Ireland and again two goals against Germany in the semi-final.
Euro 2016 stats
Both players had great a great season with their clubs. Ronaldo played a total of 48 games for Real Madrid scoring 51 goals and providing 15 assists while Griezmann played 54 games for Atletico scoring 32 goals and providing 7 assists.
Real Madrid finished second in La Liga only 1 point behind winners Barcelona and 2 points ahead of their rivals Atletico.
Ronaldo and Griezmann have played in the Champions League final against each other. Ronaldo came out on top in that confrontation, winning the trophy with Real Madrid after penalties.
So this duel between the two player could be more than just the Euro 2016 trophy, it could be also about the Ballon d'Or. Whoever wins the title with their country will have a great chance to win also the world's best player award.
Who will win and who deserves the award? Soon we will have the answer at least for the first question.