Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest players to have ever played the game.
In fact, just a few years ago, he wasn’t shy in letting everyone know that he believes he’s the best ever.
“I’m the best player in history, in the good moments and the bad ones,” he told France Football. “I respect everyone’s preferences, but I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that. No footballer can do the things I can. There’s no player more complete than me.
“I play well with both feet, I’m quick, powerful, good with the head, I score goals, I make assists. There are guys who prefer Neymar or (Lionel) Messi. But I tell you: there’s no-one more complete than me.”
However, Ronaldo was lying about the part where he said “I’ve never seen anyone better than me. I have always thought that.”
That’s because, back in 2003, Ronaldo believed there was a player better than him – Fabio Paim.
“If you think I’m good, just wait until you see Fabio Paim,” Ronaldo said after arriving at Manchester United from Sporting Lisbon.
Paim was also at Sporting and Ronaldo’s confession must have had United fearing they had signed the wrong player.
But while Ronaldo went on to lead Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus to league titles and Portugal to international trophies, picking up five Ballon d’Ors in the meantime, Paim’s career couldn’t have been more different.
Probably based on Ronaldo’s comments alone, Paim moved to Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Chelsea in 2008 but he only appeared a handful times in the reserves during a four-month loan spell.
But there, it was a downward spiral for Paim.
He had unsuccessful loan spells at Rio Ave and Real Massama before he was released from Sporting in 2010 without making a league appearance.
He signed for Portuguese third division side S.C.U Torreense, making three appearances before leaving.
In the following eight years, he played in seven counties – China, Angola, Malta, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Qatar and Brazil.
In 2015, Paím moved to Union 05 Kayl-Tetange in Luxembourg’s second tier but was sacked a few months later for “unprofessional behaviour.”
With his football career all but over, Paim was then arrested in 2019 on suspicion of ‘drugs trafficking.’
Police reportedly found 12 grams of cocaine, weighing scales, 900 euros and a BMW whilst searching the house searches following his arrest. He was eventually acquitted but he hasn’t played football since.
Speaking on his time training at Chelsea, Paim said: “I often trained with the first team but I didn’t play,” he said.
“I wanted to play. I felt I could do more. Jorge Mendes took me to Chelsea. I was getting good money and he had a player at the club and that was good for everyone.
“If it had been today I would have had more patience. But at the time, the more free time I had, the more stupid things I did.”
He may have been “better” than Ronaldo but it’s clear he didn’t have the incredible mentality that the Portuguese legend has.
Proof that you need more than just talent to make it at the very highest level.
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