Born in Madeira and made in Manchester, this anomaly in the world of sport continues to thrive week in and week out in elite level Football, despite his naysayers suggesting to the contrary as soon as the return to his spiritual home of Manchester United was announced.
With only weeks before the beginning of a brand new season in the Premier League, a competition viewed as probably the harshest and most challenging in Europe, it seemed as if his arrival was already deemed a failure in earnest.
Famous pundits and rival fans alike questioned the appetite and staying power of an ageing performer, who according to many wouldn’t be the same player who left the theatre of dreams twelve years previous and went on to become the most iconic performer in world football, with a career that spanned three of the most prestigious clubs and competitions in the game.
In that regard I would certainly agree with these supposed experts as it is Ronaldo himself who saw that in order to stay relevant and as devastatingly effective on the pitch as he has always been, he had to take it upon himself to evolve. This transformation took him from a right sided winger that relied heavily on devastating pace into a deadly and feared central striker.
In this current guise he surely has no equal in the current landscape of the game, even at the grand old age of 36. He certainly doesn’t look like slowing down any time soon either, as one record after another seemingly falls to this monster of a footballer on almost a weekly basis.
In comparison, the signing of Romelu Lukaku by Chelsea was heralded as a master stroke by manager Thomas Tuchel, and a relative snip at £98 million by the Football media who heaped praise on the powerful Belgian as a man who was the final piece of the Chelsea puzzle. An out and out goal scorer which the club were lacking despite being the current European Champions.
In contrast the signing of Ronaldo for £26 million was instantly labelled a nostalgia act that would be unable to withstand the physicality and robustness of the Premier League. His subsequent arrival would be to the detriment of the talent pool of young players coming through at the theatre of dreams, despite Cristiano actually outscoring the younger Lukaku in Serie A that season with 29 goals whilst playing for Juventus.
To suggest this notion was both disrespectful and foolish to a man that is a shining example to any sports person in any field, as he has simply dedicated his entire being into becoming the greatest player ever. Thus, if you were to look at a record of his astonishing achievements I find it extremely difficult to look any further than this Portuguese marvel for that accolade as his list of individual accomplishments is quite frankly ridiculous.
The most notable would however be that he is now the greatest international goal scorer ever to play the game with 115 goals for Portugal, a five time Ballon D’or winner, and the Champions League’s greatest marksman of all time with 139 goals.
Alongside those towering accolades he has also lead his country and club sides to barnstorming success throughout his remarkable career winning multiple championship’s with Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, and his home nation Portugal.
His mere presence can surely only bring out the best in any team mates that play alongside him, as his attitude and dedication as an athlete must surely make him a shining light to any fellow professionals who wish to capitalize on every ounce of talent that they possess. This man has poured countless hours into training and hard work to go alongside his god given talents and now we can all see the fruits of his labors.
Alas, his subsequent homecoming to Old Trafford lifted the club and its supporters across the planet into a state of euphoria as the Michael Jordan of Football finally embarked on his pilgrimage home.
The return to these shores has seen Cristiano silence the doubters and critics as he has done so time and again whilst under the microscope of the British media, as he continues to drag Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s stuttering Manchester United from the stale waters of mediocrity with his match winning exploits on a weekly basis.
He has given his heart and soul like no other at the club with his recent performances, yet he was derided as the man who would cause the club problems with his momentous return. Yet in my opinion it is surely down to the manager and the rest of the playing staff to provide him with the support he is crying out for on the pitch as it seems he is dragging the team along by the scruff of the neck by himself far too often.
It is an undoubted privilege as a Manchester United fan to have this once in a lifetime specimen back at the football club and I would suggest that many other fans feel the same regardless of their club allegiance.
It seems to me that football is currently being over run by clickbait and social media content that simply doesn’t reflect the views of true football supporters. Where snapshot clips from on the pitch or throwaway comments from pundits are hyped and promoted to an extent where they are seen as gospel on these platforms.
In contrast, I believe we must look to evaluate every players contributions across the entirety of 90 minutes based on what that performer brings to the table in every aspect of the game.
We are all entitled to voice our own opinions on the game and the players who participate in it, yet I prefer to form my own in accordance with the facts that are there for all to see, as Ronaldo has been simply outstanding upon his return with nine goals in eleven appearances. Whilst his never say die attitude must surely inspire and bring out the best in his team mates.
Admittedly he is no longer the dynamite heeled winger of yester-year, yet he still has outstanding ability in all facets of his game, powerful in the air, tricky, a ruthless finisher, and a turn of pace that defies his 36 years.
Thus, I would suggest that we sit back and enjoy this premiere athlete whilst we are still able to, as this seismic level of greatness cannot continue forever, yet with Cristiano Ronaldo you would certainly not put it past him.
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