Ronaldo’s Portugal seal 2016 as year of the underdog

Brazil were eliminated at the group stages in the Copa America, but inspired by Neymar were rejuvenated by sealing a first football Olympic gold on home soil.

On the European scene at club level it was another year dominated by Spanish clubs.

Real Madrid edged out neighbours Atletico Madrid in the second all-Spanish capital Champions League final in three seasons on penalties as Ronaldo hit the winning spot-kick in Milan.

Ronaldo’s dream year was rounded off by winning a fourth Ballon d’Or.

In the Club World Cup final in December another underdog – Japan’s Kashima Antlers – gave European champions Real Madrid a fright before a Ronaldo hat-trick saw them come from behind to win 4-2 in extra-time in Yokohama.

Sevilla claimed a third successive Europa League to temporarily halt the Jurgen Klopp revolution at Liverpool.

However, Barcelona remained on top domestically in Spain with a second consecutive La Liga and Copa del Rey double.

Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain continue to dominate in Germany and France respectively with fourth consecutive titles, whilst Juventus made it five-in-a-row in Italy’s Serie A.

Celtic also won their fifth straight title in Scotland, but that still wasn’t enough to save Ronny Deila’s job as the Norwegian coach was replaced by Brendan Rodgers.

Atletico Nacional became the first Colombian winners of the Copa Libertadores for 12 years.

They also reached the final of the Copa Sudamericana where they were due to play the unheralded Chapecuoense of Brazil.

Sadly, the final was never played as 71 people were killed when a plane carrying Chapeocuense players and staff to the first leg in Medellin crashed.

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