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A Look at Cristiano Ronaldo's Greatness

                                                                    Courtesy of

Right off the top I’d like to admit that I am not the biggest soccer fan around. I enjoy the world’s most beautiful game but it’s certainly last on the list of major sports that I follow.  

Last week the FIFA World Cup kicked off with a 5-0 Russian beating of Saudi Arabia. However, that wasn’t really what caught my attention. It was the performance of Cristiano Ronaldo on Friday afternoon that drew me to my TV. 

This is just the opinion of an admitted casual fan but I believe Cristiano Ronaldo is on track to be the greatest player to ever grace the pitch.  Settle down Messi fans, he’s also an incredible, maybe once in a lifetime talent.  I know, I know Messi is considered by many as the best and if he or anyone else is your preference I completely understand.  Just continue reading with an open mind…again this is just my observation. 

On New Year’s Eve 2015, I met a very beautiful and amazing woman. We started dating and last summer I asked her to marry me (she said yes btw!) You’re probably saying to yourself, “congrats Matt, but what’s your point?” Well she comes from a very, very...very big Portuguese family. 

I’ve always known about CR7 but I’ve never been a big fan.  Matter of fact I rooted against him in the 2016 Euro tournament.  I actually watched the finals with my fiancé and some of her family, and that was a terrible idea.  Having to watch everyone cheer for Portugal as they sealed the victory was not my favorite moment.  Perhaps I’ll tell that story another time.  I have to admit my opinion started to sway on Ronaldo after I was able to see him through the lenses of some of his supporters.  As I continued to follow Ronaldo I was no longer able to ignore his greatness.  I couldn’t help but ask everyone to make room for me on the Cristiano Ronaldo bandwagon. 

In the summer of 2017, I was fortunate enough to take a trip to Portugal. (That’s where the aforementioned proposal took place.)  Visiting Portugal was an absolutely amazing trip.  My days consisted of relaxing at the beach in beautiful Cova-Gala.  And my nights were filled with drinks, big laughs and hanging with some awesome people.  The food there was incredible.  I enjoyed everything I ate except for the Sardines.  If you know me you know that those are not my favorite.  You wouldn’t believe me when I say this and it usually warrants an eye roll, but the best thing I had was the chicken nuggets.  Please, don’t be afraid to make fun of me in the comments.  But if you’re ever in Nazare, Portugal do yourself a favor and get some of these chicken nuggets.  They will blow your mind.  While I was in Portugal I also noticed something else.  Ronaldo mania was everywhere!  Magazines and newspapers used him on their covers.  His jersey was sold at almost every store.  One morning we were enjoying breakfast at a local café, and there was a full talk show devoted to everything Cristiano Ronaldo.  When I came back I tried to explain to my friends the magnitude of his popularity.   The best way to describe it would be a combination of Lebron James and Tom Brady but everyone is a fan and hardly anyone cheers against him.  Now I can imagine this is the same for all top players in their home countries.  But I went to Portugal and I was able to experience the Ronaldo hype.  By the time I was back in the States I was a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo.

As I’ve already mentioned I am a more relaxed soccer fan but I do know that scoring goals is important.  Ronaldo has scored 675 total goals.  That puts him at #6 on the all time scorers’ list.  He is currently 33 years old and he is still performing at a very high level so expect him to continue to climb the list.  His 675 career goals rank # 1 out of all current players.  Ronaldo loves playing for his home country of Portugal.  He has scored a total of 84 goals while suited up for the national squad.  Ronaldo’s 84 scores currently rank him 2nd on the all time list.  Right now he is tied for that #2 spot but if his hat trick in Portugal’s opening match of the World Cup is any indication of what’s to come then he’ll own that position in history all to himself.  Cristiano is the only player in Portugal’s history to score 50 or more international goals.  His numbers are as exciting as his highlights.  I would recommend you take minute to watch some of his highlights.  After you’re done reading this article of course.

If you are a Boston sports’ fan then most likely you are a fan of Mr. Thomas Edward Brady.  Brady is a champion and regardless of your personal option you cannot deny that the man is a winner.  Cristiano Ronaldo is also a winner.  Throughout his career he has played in 3 different professional leagues.  Ronaldo started his career playing for Sporting CP in the Liga NOS, then he moved to the English Premier League and sported a Manchester United uniform, and now he plays for Real Madrid in La Liga. He has hoisted the league’s championship trophy in all three professional leagues.  Ronaldo and Sporting CP won the Supertaca Candido de Oliveira in 2002.  When he became a member of Manchester United he made it to the league championship in the 2005-06 season and lost.  Ronaldo then proceeded to lead Manchester to the next three Premier League championships.  In 2008, Ronaldo and the rest of his Manchester teammates won the UEFA Champions League.  The Champions League, to my knowledge, is basically the ultimate tournament of champions in European club soccer.  Cristiano Ronaldo currently plays for Real Madrid, one of Spain’s premier teams.  He has appeared in 7 total La Liga finals with 2 victories.  Those championships came in the 2011-12 and 2016-17 seasons.  Since the 2013-14 season Real Madrid has won 4 UEFA Champions League championships.  That’s 4 of the last 5 seasons Ronaldo has lead his club to the highest level in European soccer.  I don’t know if they hand out rings for winning championships in soccer but if they do Ronaldo has quite the collection.

In 2016, Ronaldo’s Portuguese National Team won the UEFA European Championship. He was injured in the final match but he logged in 625 minutes scoring 3 goals and adding 3 assists throughout the tournament.  That was good enough to earn him the Silver Boot award.  

The Baloon d’Or is the award given the best soccer player on the planet.  It is essentially the MVP of all professional soccer, or at least I think so.  Cristiano Ronaldo has won the award 5 times.  Guess where that ranks all time?  The correct answer would be 1st.  He shares that honor with the great Lionel Messi.  However, Ronaldo has taken home that prestige award the last 2 seasons and if he continues to play at this high a level he may be the king of this list as well. 

Whether you’re a fan of Ronaldo, Messi, Neymar, or Freddy Adu you can’t deny CR7’s greatness.  Is he the greatest of all time? What do I know? I’m just a casual soccer fan…. 

Follow me on Twitter @Matty_wests1de 

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