It’s getting harder and harder to find the perfect words to describe the greatness of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Spectacular. Amazing. Uncanny. Unbelievable. Legend?
Cristiano Ronaldo wept tears of despair, then tears of joy as the Euro 2016 final took him on an emotional journey from his lowest low to the high of lifting Portugal’s first major trophy under his captaincy.
We are not looking at the best player in football today, but one of the greatest players to ever play the sport. But is he up there with titans like Pelé, Maradona or Zidane?
Carlo Ancelotti once said, “he’s otherworldly”. He definitely looks like he’s from a different dimension. He has won everything that is their to be won on club levels, from being a feeble, rangy showboat during his starting days at Manchester United to become a monster of a player that he is today, he has defied everything that stood in his way.
Mozart, Picasso, Michelangelo, Einstein, Pele, Jordan, Mandela – the list can go on. There’s one thing each one of these individuals got in – the hard yards, the tough practice, the training of the mind. As Messi puts it so succinctly- “I start early and I stay late, day after day, year after year. It took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success.”
Mike Clegg was Manchester United’s fitness and conditioning coach in the 2000s. The following are his words: ‘From the day he walked through the door at Carrington to the day he left, Cristiano Ronaldo was the greatest trainer I ever worked with. He took on a new level of total dedication to his training because he wanted to be the best footballer in the world. He filled his time with football, his whole life was dedicated to it. He even had his own cook so that he was eating well all the time, he made sure he bought a house with a swimming pool so that he could do more training.’
“Some players over-do it,” he says. “I’ve seen players train themselves into the ground because of insufficient knowledge, but Ronaldo was more intelligent than that. He’d train hard, but he’d listen to the specialists around him, the coaches, the manager, the other players like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He took their advice in pursuit of personal excellence.”
Here are some of the facts about him.
– He can jump higher than an NBA player
– His hang time is no less than LeBron James
– He can sprint at par with the average 100m Olympic sprinters while having the stamina of marathon runners.
– During a full weight training session he can lift weight equivalent to 16 Toyota Prius cars.
– His free-kicks have a starting velocity of 30m/s
Isn’t this enough to give him that legendary status and put him along with the likes of Peles, Maradonas and Zidanes?
He has won every accolade that there is to be won on personal and on club level. A 3 time Ballon ‘d or winner, 3 time Champions League winner with 2 two of the Greatest clubs, he’s a 3 time Premier League winner, one time La Liga winner and with other numerous Cups and silverware to his name.
“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds” – Albert Einstein
This quote fits perfectly when we talk about Cristiano Ronaldo. Footballing intellectuals always pointed of him not achieving anything with the national team as the rationale for him not being contemplated with the likes of Pele’s and Maradona’s legendary stature.
So, does this Euros win puts Cristiano in the same bracket as them?
For me, YES! DEFINITELY.
With a Portugese side who weren’t even considered as dark horses before the tournament begin, to go out and win it is something outrageous in itself. People call them lucky, but luck doesn’t work until you work hard to get something. They also question Cristiano’s part in their Euros triumph even when he was their joint highest score and leader in assists and being the Captain he motivated his teammates at every moment they were down and bowed, he gave them words to fight upon, and those finals touchline gestures of him are an evidence of it.
“He’s a 100 percent among the all-time greats, that’s not even in doubt. If you’re going to put the Zidane’s, Figo’s, the Brazilian Ronaldo (in that bracket), then a 100% Ronaldo would be in that bracket.”— Gary Neville
Those whoever question him maybe now need to ponder upon their sanity.