Football

Cristiano Ronaldo: A true footballing great?

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Will Ronaldo be considered a great? (©GettyImages)
Will Ronaldo be considered a great? (©GettyImages).

To people who watch Cristiano Ronaldo week in and week out, or those who read about the spectacular performances he consistently puts in, there is no doubt that he is a living legend. 

From his humble origins in Portugal, he has risen to the pinnacle of the world of football, justified by his incredible goal return. He is arguably one of the few players in world football whose salary is fully justified. 

Yet in a world where most sporting headlines are dominated by a certain diminutive Argentine magician, Ronaldo doesn't receive the credit he deserves.

One would be hard-pressed to argue Cristiano isn't a spectacular player. He can do things with the ball at his feet that some of the best throughout history would struggle with. 

He has scored over 50 goals every season for the last three years and has won almost every trophy there is to win between La Liga and the Premier league. 

That being said, living in the shadows of Messi may see his influence as a legend somewhat hurt. 

I am going to make the controversial argument here that Ronaldo is the best player to ever come out of Portugal and is tied with one Zinedine Zidane for the mantle of best player to come out of Europe. 

Before the era of Ronaldo and Messi, scoring 50 goals a season was unheard of - let along scoring 70 goals. Ronaldo has proven time and time again that he is world class, yet people continue to question his status as a living legend. 

Arguments ranging from his underperformance with his national team to his lack of Ballon d'Or titles all seem to condemn Ronaldo to history as the player who just wasn't good enough to cut it. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Ronaldo's unfortunate lack of personal accolades comes down of one saddening but true fact - his personality has hurt his career. There is little doubt that although Messi scored the most goals in 2012, the year's outstanding player was Cristiano. 

He stepped up to the plate time and time again and led his Real Madrid side to a long overdue La Liga trophy. He only lost out on the Champions league to an unfortunate penalty shootout. The prize went to Messi because of his humble nature - not because of his performances. 

Ronaldo deserved the Ballon d'Or in 2012.

As for his performances with the national team, people don't acknowledge the fact that other than Ronaldo, the Portugal team is one largely devoid of quality players. Aside from Nani, who the most defensive of Manchester United fans may argue is reasonably competent, Portugal has no players who can be described as "game changers." 

Their semi-final performance at the Euro 2012 was by no means an under-achievement - if anything it was a shock they got that far before another unfortunate penalty shootout.

The best throughout history have always had quality beside them on the international level. Ronaldo is in the awkward position of not having that luxury. 

Zidane had Henry, Brazilian Ronaldo had Ronaldinho, Messi has Aguero, Tevez, Di Maria, Higuain and more. 

Cristiano Ronaldo is a living legend and deserves to be treated like one. 

Numbers-wise, he is undisputedly one of the greatest players who has every lived. Unfortunately, his timing with regards to the national team, and the constant over-looking of him in favour of Lionel Messi means that he will go down in history as being good, not great. 

 

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Topics:
Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo
Football
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