He’s won the Ballon d’Or three times, is Real Madrid’s all-time leading goalscorer and has won the Champions League with Manchester United and Los Blancos.
It’s safe to say that Cristiano Ronaldo will go down as a legend.
The forward opened up about his legacy ahead of Madrid’s Champions League semi-final clash with Manchester City on Wednesday and he knows full well that he will be remembered fondly.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
Article continues below
Last year, Ronaldo said he is the best footballer in the world. Many would pass his comments off as sheer arrogance but it’s hard to argue with the 31-year-old’s numbers.
He’s scored 539 goals across his career and, if not for Lionel Messi, would have more than his already-impressive haul of Ballon d’Or titles.
It’s because of those numbers, Ronaldo claims, that he belongs in the pantheon of greats.
“I don't doubt that I will go down in footballing history," he told UEFA, per Goal.
“Whether people like it or not, the numbers speak for themselves. I will be up there with the rest. Some like it more, some like it less, but I have no doubt that I'm already in the history of football."
Ronaldo has scored 47 goals this season and his importance to Zinedine Zidane’s team was clear in last week’s 0-0 draw at the Etihad Stadium.
The Portugal star missed the game through injury and Madrid’s attack was toothless in his absence.
But Ronaldo never expected to be good enough to join Manchester United as an 18-year-old.
”I always felt that I was a special player, ever since I was starting out at Sporting," he continued. "I felt that sooner or later I would be a top-level professional. I never thought it would come so fast, but I was preparing myself because, like I said, the talent was there.
"I've always worked hard, believed in my potential – in the academy at Sporting, at Manchester United and at Real Madrid as well – and I've developed more and more as a player, as a person, as a human being. I've enjoyed my work.
"Fans always like to see a good match, and to see goals obviously. And that's my job. It's to win, play well, score as many goals as possible, help my team and enjoy it.
“‘Enjoy' is the word that I need to underline, because that's football: it's happiness, it's passion and it's adversity as well."
Few players have received as much attention, both positively and negatively, as Ronaldo has, but his ‘chip on his shoulder’ attitude has seen him flourish.