'There is only Ronaldo, and he is not Portuguese' chanted the Nou Camp faithful in an El Classico a few years ago.
While such chants do disservice to one of the greatest talents of our times, a player who would surely go down in history as a Real Madrid legend, Cristiano Ronaldo must up his game even further in order to come out of the shadow of his Brazilian namesake; Luis Nazario Ronaldo.
Despite splitting opinion like no other player, Ronaldo has had incredible success for both Manchester United and Real Madrid. His goal scoring record at Santiago Bernabeu is especially remarkable - with an average of more than a goal per game for Madrid.
However, one fears that despite all his success at club level, C.Ronaldo will never be able to match 'El Fenomeno'.
It is not Ronaldo’s excellent goal scoring feats and records at every club he played in or the setbacks he overcame that sets him head and shoulders above the Portuguese Maestro. Nor is it the personal accolades that he has received. It is what he has achieved for Brazil that makes him a true legend of football as compared to C. Ronaldo.
With a remarkable return of 62 goals in 98 matches, it is not the quantity or even the quality of Ronaldo’s goals that made him such a great player, but the timing of those goals.
The player with the most number of World Cup goals, Ronaldo, always had a penchant to set the world alight on the greatest stage, with his stand-out performances coming in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
It is interesting that both times a Brazil team with Ronaldo were knocked out of a World Cup was due to two of Zinedine Zidane's greatest performances.
He scored two headed goals in the 1998 final and was the stand-out performer in the quarter-finals of the 2006 World Cup when he set up Thierry Henry’s winner from a free-kick.
Had it not been for those two Zidane performances, Ronaldo may have had two if not three World Cups to his name and Brazil would have nobody to thank more than the man himself.
On the other hand, C. Ronaldo has never reached such heights with Portugal, having never gone to the final of any major tournament with his country, let alone win one.
He has also failed to make an impact for the Portuguese team in any major tournament, with his greatest performance coming in the recent Euro 2012 - where his performances were erratic at best.
He missed a couple of easy chances with only the 'keeper to beat against Denmark in the group-stages, with Silvestre Varela saving Ronaldo’s blushes, scoring a screamer in the 87th minute - without which Portugal’s chances of progressing to the knockout stages would have been very slim.
Indeed, it was his glaring miss in the dying stages of normal time in the semi-final against Spain that caused the match to go into extra-time and eventually penalties, where the Portuguese lost out to the eventual winners.
Hence, despite all of his achievements at club level, until Cristiano has performed for his country the same way that Ronaldo did for Brazil, he will always be in the shadow of the great Brazilian number nine.
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