It's the big question.
A footballing conundrum that ensures no matter what you achieve in the beautiful game, you'll always be held accountable to the answer. It is, of course: 'can they do it on a cold, Tuesday night in Stoke?'
Ok, so the question isn't quite as important as that, but it's a staple top comment that has genuinely entered footballing debate and assessed whether players can still perform in adverse conditions.
There's an understanding that the English football is the ultimate test for top footballers, particularly a trip to the bet365 Stadium which is renowned as a wind-bowl of a stadium.
The question of whether Lionel Messi would be able to cope in such conditions was floated just a few months ago, although footage of him playing in terrible weather in Malaga suggests he could.
Stoke 0-1 Man Utd 2008
However, one man with firsthand experience of the matter is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, who encountered the Potters during his final season at Manchester United.
Despite having scored two free-kicks during the clash at Old Trafford, it was a very different story when the Portuguese arrived in Stoke for a wintery Boxing Day clash.
The game is perhaps best remembered for Carlos Tevez scoring a dramatic late winner but how exactly did Ronaldo fare on his only experience of a cold day in Stoke?
Ronaldo struggled on a cold, wintery day
Not well at all. In fact, we'll allow Goal to start things off with their player ratings on the day, slapping Ronaldo with a 4.5/10 and concluding that he gave United's worst performance.
They wrote: "Put his opponents' backs up with his attitude and did not enjoy the best of days. Rarely produced anything positive but drew the foul from Wilkinson that changed the game."
Another theme of the game was his spat with Andy Wilkinson, who was ultimately sent off for persistently clattering the United star throughout the game.
Ronaldo noticeably struggled with the tough treatment from the Stoke players and footage of his performance shows him becoming repeatedly frustrated with misplaced passes and tackles.
In fact, he was lucky to escape a red card of his own, kicking out at Wilkinson in a moment of dissent.
Oh, and despite having score twice from set pieces during the home fixture, he failed to hit the target with his two attempts in Staffordshire.
Ronaldo's individual highlights
His full highlights can be seen down below:
Can Ronaldo do it on a cold day in Stoke? No, he cannot.
Obviously, the ultimate test is whether he could do it on a Tuesday night, so perhaps we can forgive him for struggling on a Friday afternoon.
The question does, of course, take on a greater meaning and Ronaldo has shown his ability to perform in adverse conditions on other occasions, just not in 2008.
With the 34-year-old now plying his trade in Italy with Juventus, it looks unlikely that Ronaldo will lock horns with Stoke again. We'll interpret that as Stoke 1-0 Ronaldo.
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