Consistency and Longevity
When we talk about Cristiano Ronaldo we always look back at long spells of his performance. He was undoubtedly the best player in all of England for the last three years he was with Manchester United. But his real consistent performance of almost 7+ years came while he was in Real Madrid scoring a staggering array of goals every season the tallies of them being 33, 53, 60, 55, 51, 61, 51 and 42. He has netted the ball 15 times in the Champions League which is arguably the toughest football competition in the world and he is showing no signs of slowing sown. That many number of goals is more than what Atletico Madrid has managed in their entire history of European Football. He turned 32 last year and he is not even slowing down. His performance in the quarter finals against Bayern Munich was a treat to the eyes.
He was brilliant everywhere be it excellent tracking back, off the ball movement, and more than anything – his incredible ability to alter the course of matches, and entire tournaments, through the sheer weight of his goal-scoring. In the semi finals he scored a stunning hat trick against Atletico Madrid and penetrated the nearly unbreakable Juventus defence.
His ability to guide his team[s] and nation to highest honours
Cristiano Ronaldo’s trophy tally is nothing short of formidable with him posting One Champions Leagues, four Premier Leagues and one Club World Cup with Manchester United, three Champions Leagues and two La Ligas with Real Madrid and a European Championship with Portugal. The honours are no doubt massive in their own rights but it is much more important as to how his presence has affected the game plays of the teams involved. He score 31 goals in the Premier League and smashed in 8 in the Champions League with another 3 in the FA cup the season he won the Champions League with Manchester United. He scored a humongous 42 times in 49 matches played that season. He finished and brought “La Decima” home as the joint top scorer in the Champions League. In the next iteration he stepped up his game and pulled a hat-trick out of his pockets against Wolfsburg coming back from 2-0 down in the first leg to win 3-2 on aggregate. In the next one he scored a brace and destroyed a very tight Juventus defence. He also got Portugal their only international accolade though not due to the number of goals but his sheer will power determination and presence.
“Bargain” world record signing
Cristiano Ronaldo moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid for 94 million euros setting a new world record breaking the previous best set by Kaka the same year moving incidentally to the same club. He outperformed himself during his tryst with Real Madrid and took his goal scoring form to unprecedented levels. He scored 285 goals in 265 league matches at a rate of 1.08 goals per match. In total he has 406 goals scored in 394 matches played for Madrid which essentially means he scored every time he was put on the field. That is a skill that cannot be bought. The magnitude of the situation is so immense that it is mind boggling to even consider thinking about it. And it is not only through football and cup winnings that he has helped Real Madrid with his mere presence increased Real Madrid’s brand value and strengthened their revenues and fan bases along the globe. It is safe to say that Real Madrid got back a lot more than what they invested with Cristiano’s transfer turning out to be a “bargain” buy.
His immense will to win
On the ball technique has always been arch rival Messi’s forte and if the question is about footballing magic there might never again be anyone other than the Argentine who could be so at home with a ball at his feet. But it is not. In an era where Messi’s skill has surpassed the best of all the bests we can compare Ronaldo to Messi which goes to show actually how brilliant he is. He has done some truly amazing things with the ball while he was in his absolute prime physical fitness. His iconic step-over and cutback are still the nightmares for defenders who has had the bad luck of facing him on field at that point of time. But with age he changed his game and adapted to his physical capabilities and is yet to falter in his duties even once. It is at this juncture of his illustrious career he started the actual path to Greatness. He has done everything humanely and inhumanely possible to forever be a contender in the G.O.A.T. debate and he very well will.
The complete package forward in history
Ronaldo in all senses of the word is the perfect striker possessing all the features a great striker could ask for. His dribbling skills and smouldering runs were to be reckoned with in his prime and while he does not do it often nowadays…his finishes are immaculate and ruthless as he first started. He has perfected the technique over the years to move off the ball drawing opponents here and there to make space for himself and the whole of his forward unit. He is a complete striker because of the fact that he has no weak foot and can strike from any range using either with lethal accuracy. He is also the master of set pieces having mastered the folha-seca technique of hitting the ball in a way that makes it arc down at the very last moment.
His passing is spot on and his crosses are out of the world. And the most important thing about his ability is his ability to hit the ball in the air. He is a beast while in air and none can quite head the ball as good as he does. When we see pundits talk about great strikers of the bygone eras they usually pick at the strengths and weaknesses of the strikers in question but in the future football gurus will find themselves on the short end of the stick trying to find a weakness as all it would be strengths.