Hi friends! I am back with a bang on the journey of footballing legend Cristiano Ronaldo. If you really want to know the meaning of consistency, just check out the statistics of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, it is just unbelievable! In this blog, I will post about the incredible and motivating journey of Cristiano Ronaldo and will also give my opinion on the ‘Ronaldo vs Messi Debate.’ I am sure that his journey will not only melt your heart but also will inspire you to chase your dreams inspite of the obstacles that come in between! So let’s get started…..
Club and National Career
Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro was born in Sao Pedro, Funchal , on the Portuguese island of Madeira. The name Ronaldo was added to Cristiano’s name in honour of his father José Dinis Aveiro’s favourite movie actor, Ronald Reagan, who was U.S. president at the time of Cristiano’s birth. As a child, Ronaldo played for amateur team Andorinha from 1992 to 1995, where his father was the kit man, and later spent two years with Nacional. Cristiano was always dedicated and passionate about football and aspired to become a professional footballer. During his childhood, he idolised Portuguese players like Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Fernando Couto and was amazed by their brilliance.
In 1997, Ronaldo aged 12, was signed by Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon for a fee of 1500 Pounds. At such a young age Ronaldo had to leave his home in Madeira and shift to Lisbon. Initially he had to go through a lot of trouble staying alone in a new place far away from his family. “Football gave me everything, but it also took me far away from home before I was really ready. When I was 11 years old, I moved from the island to the academy at Sporting Lisbon, and it was the most difficult time in my life.” revealed Ronaldo in an interview. His Family always supported him and encouraged him to stay there, because they knew that Ronaldo had the talent and the mentality to succeed. Ronaldo at age of 15 was diagnosed with a racing heart, a condition that could have forced him to give up playing football. But due to his determination and self-belief he managed to beat the disease after undergoing a heart surgery and returned to training a few days later. Nothing could stop Ronaldo from becoming world’s best footballer, not even a heart disease!!
On 7 October 2002, Ronaldo made his debut in the Primeira Liga (Portuguese League) against Moreirense, and scored two goals in their 3–0 win. Over the course, Ronaldo scored 5 goals and made 5 assists in 31 matches. He also won the Portuguese Super Cup with Sporting and was one of the most exciting young players. Owing to his Talent and Hardwork he got offers from many big teams like Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and FC Barcelona.
In August 2003, Manchester United signed teenage sensation Cristiano Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon for a fee of 12.24 Million Pounds. He was the first ever Portuguese to play for his Dream Club Manchester United. Having been so much impressed by Ronaldo’s talent and hardwork, Manchester United players urged their manager Sir Alex Ferguson to sign him instantly. When Ronaldo was signed in 2003, his father Jose Dinis had a bet with him that he will become the world’s best striker which motivated Ronaldo even more. Ronaldo came from a background full of poverty. The transformation of Ronaldo from Poverty to being one of the richest sportsmen in the world is truly unbelievable!
18 year old Ronaldo played alongside legends like Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes to name a few and instantly grabbed the attention of his fans. His dedication and passion for football was truly commendable and that was one of the reasons why he garnered so much attention. A key element in his development during his time in England proved to be his manager, Alex Ferguson, of whom he later said, “He’s been my father in sport, one of the most important and influential factors in my career.”
Ronaldo scored his first goal for Manchester United with a free-kick in a 3–0 win over Portsmouth on 1 November. Ronaldo most of the times played as a left winger for ManU, where he regularly looked to deliver crosses into the penalty area. In this position, he was able to use his pace and acceleration, agility, and technical skills to take on opponents in one-on-one situations. Ronaldo became noted for his dribbling and flair, often displaying an array of tricks such as the Stepovers and so-called ‘chops’ that became his trademark. In later half of his ManU career, especially after the 2006 World Cup he transformed himself completely. “From being scrawny and skinny to transforming into a middleweight boxer, he underwent quite a transformation. He also became much better in terms of agility, leap, movements,etc after 2006 WC” revealed Ronaldo’s ManU teammate Gary Neville. Ronaldo ManU career was more of a learning curve for him, he was more of a dribbler in ManU. Ronaldo made 292 appearances for ManU scoring 118 goals and assisting 69 times. He has won many trophies for ManU like 2 Premier League trophies, 2 FA Cup Trophies, 1 Champions League title to name a few. He was one of the most admired ManU players and he also won the ‘Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year’ Award twice and BALLON D’OR Award once in 2008. His final ever goal for Manchester United came on 10 May 2009 with a free kick in the Manchester derby at Old Trafford
Ahead of the 2009-10 LaLiga season, Ronaldo joined Real Madrid for a world record transfer fee at the time, of 80 million pounds. Ronaldo made his debut in La Liga on 29 August 2009, against Deportivo La Coruna and scored from the penalty spot in Madrid’s 3–2 home win. This was the phase of Ronaldo’s career where he got the ‘legendary’ status from his fans. Ronaldo could now play regularly against his arch rival Lionel Messi of Barcelona. Ronaldo in Madrid was slowly garnered the status of a complete player, because he could play with his left and right foot, was good in headers, scored some astonishing free-kicks, could also score from crazy angles and was the best in penalties too! The major reason behind Ronaldo’s success was Hardwork + Dedication towards football! “Nothing happens by chance. Talent is worthless if you don’t work hard” revealed Ronaldo when asked about his secret behind his success. Who can forget Ronaldo’s trademark celebration which is something that every football fan have seen and tried, at least once!! Every time he scores, he runs off to jump, twirl, plant his feet with his hands by his side and with the scream “Siiii”.
The Ronaldo-Messi rivalry became more intense since Ronaldo’s arrival in Madrid. The El Classico(it is among the most viewed sporting events) which takes place between arch rivals Real Madrid and FC Barcelona also garnered more fans since 2009. Ronaldo and Messi both push each other and raise the bar of individual excellence. Ronaldo was most successful under the management of Zinedine Zidane where he won the Champions League three successive times. Ronaldo always praised Zidane and said that “You need to feel like you are an important part of the group and Zidane made me feel special” Ronaldo was very successful in Madrid by becoming the scoring the most number of goals for Madrid. Whenever his team needed him, Ronaldo was always there. He had an impressive career with Madrid that lasted almost a decade. He scored 450 goals in 438 appearances and made 131 assists for Madrid. He won the Champions League 4 times, La Liga 2 times, Spanish Cup 2 times, UEFA Super Cup three times and also the Spanish Super Cup 2 times with Real Madrid. Individually also he won several awards like the Best FIFA Men’s Player of the Year Award 4 times and also the BALLON D’OR Award 4 times with Madrid. During his time in Madrid, he became Real Madrid’s all time leading goalscorer and hence achieved the legendary status there! Cristiano Ronaldo is a part of Real Madrid’s legacy and will forever be remembered as one of the great icons throughout the club’s history.
On 10 July 2018, Ronaldo signed a four-year contract with Italian giants Juventus after completing a 100 million pounds transfer which surprised the footballing fraternity, because no one expected him to leave Madrid including me. The transfer was the highest ever for a player over 30 years old, and the highest ever paid by an Italian club. Ronaldo always wanted to search for new challenges from the very beginning and that is the reason why he departed from Real Madrid. He literally won every single trophy with Madrid and I am sure, with his Passion and hunger to score goals and win trophies, he will be successful with Juventus too!
On 16 September, Ronaldo scored his first goals for Juventus in his fourth appearance for the club in a 2–1 home win over Sassuolo. In his two season career till now with Juve, Ronaldo has made 78 appearances scoring 54 goals and made 14 assists. With Juve, Ronaldo has already won 1 Italian Cup(Serie A) and 1 Italian Super Cup. He has already won “Player of the Year” Award once in the 2018-19 season, but is yet to win a Champions League with Juve. Cristiano is regarded as one of the most Decorated footballers of all time. Even at the age of 35 Ronaldo is the second leading goalscorer in 2019-20 Serie A season scoring 22 goals in 23 matches behind only Lazio’s Ciro Immobile. Age is just a number for Cristiano Ronaldo and that’s truly inspirational!
Cristiano Ronaldo’s Charity
Cristiano Ronaldo is considered selfish and arrogant by many of his haters but off the field he is totally the opposite. Ronaldo holds many ambassadorial roles for various charities and organisations. As one of the best-paid footballers in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo has done more than his fair share for charity. One of Ronaldo’s first donations came in 2011 when the Portuguese auctioned off his European Golden Boot for £1.2m, with the money going towards building schools in Gaza. In December that year, a shirt signed by the forward was sold for £31,000 with the money going to Save the Children Foundation and since 2012, the forward has been an ambassador for the charity, which aims to improve the lives of children all over the world. In 2015, Ronaldo was named as the most charitable sports star in the world by dosomething.org, which recognised his ambassadorship, his donations to charities, and varies other causes he has been involved with. On the Field Ronaldo has proven to be a thorough professional and a True Gentleman off it!!
Portugal (National Career)
At age 18, Ronaldo made his first senior appearance for Portugal in a 1–0 victory over Kazakhstan on 20 August 2003. He was subsequently called up for UEFA 2004, held in his home country, and scored his first international goal in a 2–1 group stage loss to eventual champions Greece. After converting his penalty in a shootout against England in the quarter-finals, he helped Portugal reach the final by scoring the opening goal in a 2–1 win over the Netherland. He was featured in the team of the tournament, having provided two assists in addition to his two goals.
In his illustrious career for Portugal, Ronaldo has broken many records and is considered the best ever Portuguese Player. He is Portugal’s most capped player of all time by making 164 appearances and is also Portugal’s Leading Goalscorer by scoring 99 Goals. He is the youngest player to reach 100 caps for Portugal, he achieved this when he was 27 years, 8 months and 11 days. He is the only Portuguese Player to win UEFA Champions League 5 times. With Portugal, Ronaldo was crowned as European Champion once in 2016 and has also the won the UEFA Nations League in 2019. These 2 trophies was close to Ronaldo’s heart as he always wanted to win a trophy with his country. This was one of the reasons why experts consider Ronaldo to be better than his arch rival Messi because Messi has failed to win a single trophy with his country Argentina. Who can forget the Free Kick, the 33 year old Ronaldo scored against Spain in the 2018 World Cup. He scored that astonishing free kick in the dying moments of the game and managed to Tie the game for Portugal. He is Undoubtedly the greatest player to don the Portuguese jersey!
UEFA Cristiano League (UCL)
YES you guessed it right! I am talking about the UEFA Champions League(UCL). The UCL as you all know is the most toughest and prestigious football tournament in the world because it is contested by the Top-Division European Clubs that decide the competition winners. And Ronaldo is considered the ‘King of UCL‘ by all experts!
Ronaldo has won this competition 5 times, most by any player, 4 with Spain’s Real Madrid and 1 with England’s Manchester United. He is the all time Top Goalscorer with 129 goals in 173 matches. He is only Player to score 17 goals in a single season which he scored for Real Madrid in 2013. He is the only player to score in 3 UCL FINALS. He is the only player to score in 11 straight UCL games . He is also the only player to score in all 6 games in UCL Group Stage. He has scored 129 goals in the UCL till now, 105 goals with Real Madrid, 15 with Manchester United and 8 with Juventus. Who can forget the Bicycle Kick Ronaldo scored for Real Madrid against Juventus in 2017-18 UCL quarter final tie! IT was Absolutely Breathtaking! Even Juventus fans stood and Applauded his Individual Brilliance! Another unforgettable UCL moment of Ronaldo came way back in 2009 when he played for Manchester! He scored a long range freekick from 40 yards out against rivals Arsenal in UCL SemiFinal at the Emirates. Noone believed that it would go in, Not even the commentators…. But Ronaldo believed in himself! I really think that UCL’s name should be changed to UEFA Cristiano League to honour Ronaldo for his brilliance!
Ronaldo’s 10 Rules for Success
These are the 10 rules that our Hero Ronaldo has advised people to follow if they want to succeed in life.
- Just Enjoy whatever you are doing because once you start enjoying you complete the task faster!
- Be Competitive. Because in today’s Cut-throat World, you have to be competitive to excel.
- Always Take on New Challenges.
- Know your Priorities Well
- People will Judge You. There will be criticisms too, but that should not stop you from following your dreams. If you are on the right track, you will excel.
- Work Hard. There are no shortcuts to success, you need to work hard and be dedicated to succeed.
- Believe you are the Best. Always believe in yourself. You can win, you can excel. Ronaldo always believed in himself, when noone believe in him and that’s why he is the best!
- Play for the Team.
- Enjoy the Moment. Becoming successful is a long process. You have to work hard and be consistent for years together. Take one step at a time, Focus and enjoy the Present and don’t worry about the future.
- Have a Sense of Humour.
My Opinion on the Ronaldo vs Messi Debate
Well honestly I feel both Ronaldo and Messi are the legends of the game. We should be feeling lucky to be born in an era where we can see both of these players play. There are only few players who are as Talented and Hardworking as they are. Their consistency as i said earlier is just unmatchable. Both Messi and Ronaldo push each other and raise the bar of excellence. Both are widely regarded not only as the two best players of their generation, but also, as two of the greatest of all time. But I feel both of them are different players, Messi on one hand is full of ‘God-Given Talent’ and on the other hand Ronaldo is full of Hard Work and Dedication, Ronaldo had to work hard for his Physique, for his Fitness and also for improving his Goal-scoring ability! I guess rather than comparing these two we should enjoy their beautiful game they possess. These two are undoubtedly the best of all time
But if you ask me to choose one among them in my dream team, I would definitely choose Ronaldo. For me, he has reached that position not only due to his talent, but also due to his Hard-Work and Passion for Football. He believed in himself when no one believed in him. He transformed himself from a skinny boy to one of the most athletic person in the world. He had the determination in himself to be the best footballer in the World. For me and for all football fans around the world, he is an inspiration and a role model! His Commiment and Work Ethic is unparalleled. Even Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli is inspired by Ronaldo. The Run Machine is appreciating the Goal Machine!! And Undoubtedly Ronaldo is the greatest of all times and deserves all his accolades…..
Do Comment your favourite goal and favourite moments of Cristiano Ronaldo in the comment section!! Would love to see your comments!