It's fair to say that the rise of Cristiano Ronaldo has been a truly remarkable one.
Ronaldo, 31, has enjoyed quite the career and is now recognised as one of the best players in world football.
His three Ballon d'Or successes certainly confirm that notion and there's every reason to believe that he will add to that tally before his retirement.
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But was he always destined to become a superstar? Well, it appears that he probably was.
Indeed, Aurelio Pereira - the chief scout of Sporting Lisbon - has revealed what he saw in Ronaldo when he discovered him.
Ronaldo as a youngster
Ronaldo, at the age of 12, quickly impressed Pereira, who claims that the player had an 'amazing relationship with the ball'.
He said, as per The Sun: “I found Ronaldo in 1996 – we paid about £25,000 for him from Nacional da Madeira, a huge price for a kid that age. But we saw he instantly had an amazing relationship with the ball, his movement and speed was unbelievable. He was prodigious.
“He had extraordinary physical and mental qualities. He came to Lisbon without any family and by his second day there, he was dominating the changing room – the other players were looking at him like he was a UFO, they were in awe of him!
“But he was not arrogant. A true talent is unique and he acknowledged he was better than the others – he would not have been so confident if he could not back it up. He wasn’t just the best at football; he was the best at every sport, from table tennis to swimming."
Ronaldo has achieved so much success throughout his illustrious career but could take yet another step to glory this week.
There's every chance that he will lead Portugal to the Euro 2016 final this evening as they prepare to take on Wales at the Stade des Lumieres.
The former Manchester United man may well have only netted on two occasions so far - he struck twice against Hungary in the group stages - but there's no reason why he won't be able to produce the goods against Wales.
Gareth Bale will, of course, be the main man for Wales, but it would be foolish to overlook Ronaldo at this stage. Pereira is certainly expecting Ronaldo to make the difference during the contest.
He continued by saying:“I don’t think Wales will be that attacking. Bale is an incredible player and it will be a blessing to see Cristiano and him in battle. But they are seeing Portugal getting stronger as the games go on, particularly into extra time and penalties, they are in new territory and I expect them to sit back. We must stamp our authority on Wales early on.
“Ronaldo is so important to the national team, and every team with a stand-out player should be thankful. When you look at Wales, and you take away Bale you do not have that much of a star team.”
Do you think Ronaldo will inspire Portugal to Euro 2016 glory? Have your say below!
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