There’s no denying that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time.
The Portuguese superstar has scored more club goals than any other player in history and is close to becoming football’s leading international goalscorer, too.
Ronaldo, who turned 36 earlier this month, has won league titles in three different countries (with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus) and has lifted the Champions League trophy five times.
Oh, and he’s also won the Ballon d’Or award five times. Only Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has won football’s most prestigious individual accolade on more occasions (six).
Speaking of Messi, Ronaldo’s eternal rival, there’s always been talk among football fans that the Argentine is the more naturally talented of the two superstars.
While Messi is widely regarded as a player born with a God-given talent, Ronaldo is seen as a footballer who worked extraordinary hard in order to reach the top.
But is this assessment actually fair on either player?
Probably not, no. Both players have worked remarkably hard throughout their lives to scale such lofty heights. To suggest otherwise would be very harsh on Messi.
Similarly, it would be wrong to suggest that Ronaldo wasn’t talented.
His talent was clear for all to see from a very young age. And during his time with Man United, he was arguably the most skillful footballer on the planet.
Don’t believe us?
Take a look at this brilliant two-minute video of a 20-year-old Ronaldo in action for the Red Devils against Arsenal in the 2005 FA Cup final.
United lost the game on penalties but Sir Alex Ferguson’s side were unfortunate not to win. They dominated large periods of the game but spurned a host of good chances.
Ronaldo, meanwhile, terrorised Arsenal’s defenders. He didn’t give Lauren a moment’s peace down the left flank.
What a performance.
Ronaldo stepped up in the penalty shoot-out and converted United’s third spot-kick.
However, Paul Scholes had missed United’s second penalty, while Arsenal successfully converted all five of theirs past Roy Carroll, which meant Arsene Wenger’s side lifted the trophy in Cardiff.
Had Ferguson’s side won, there’s every chance this would now be remembered as one of Ronaldo’s best performances in a United shirt.