Gary Lineker believes Cristiano Ronaldo’s career deserves a major international trophy, even though Antoine Griezmann has outshone him at Euro 2016.
The two players face each other in the tournament’s final on Sunday, as Portugal meet hosts France in Paris.
And, with Ronaldo now the European Championship’s joint-record all-time goalscorer, netting nine alongside Michel Platini, Lineker thinks the Real Madrid star’s achievements warrant a title.
“I have never been one of those who says Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have to win a major tournament to justify people’s perception of their greatness,” the former England international wrote in his column for the Mail on Sunday.
“That depends a lot on the luck of the time and the team that you’re playing for.
“But his career deserves a major trophy for his country.
“He’s not quite as explosive as he was but he’s still an unbelievable athlete. Added to that, his technical abilities and incredible drive makes him really, really special.”
However, while acknowledging the Portuguese’s greatness, Lineker has identified Frenchman Griezmann as his player of the tournament.
“Antoine Griezmann will unquestionably be the player of the tournament, unless Ronaldo scores a hat-trick in the final,” he added.
“He’s been a breath of fresh air. He’s finished beautifully, his movement is great, as is his touch and he plays delightful football.
“He’s diminutive, with that angel-like face. And he’s enjoying it.”