Ronaldo: Is He the Greatest Ever?


By DESMOND EKWUEME

Cristiano Ronaldo is roundly blessed...and perhaps even beyond the fame of football. Laurels, trophies and awards both individually and collectively keep pouring almost endlessly. He keeps winning, challenging others, inspiring millions even as several others are filled with envy and awe.

The envious are asking "will he win forever?",  Surely he will not win forever but his memory, legacy, footprints, achievements and name will forever be remembered by football.
His success cuts across club and country. He has made football success almost a universal appeal. Football lovers globally no longer see trophies, awards and laurels from club or country point of view. CR7 through his achievements has made football fans supporters of a winner and football....and not club or country even as they individually have clubs they follow.

Many fans of Real Madrid rivals are enjoying every moment of fun this player brings to the sport. Fans of his former clubs are so proud of him even as other clubs he is yet to play for are hoping he comes to retire there. He is every manager's player. He is every footballer's delight yet he is the pleasure every football fan derives from the sport.


Sir Alex Ferguson says, "Ronaldo has proven to the world that his move from Sporting to Manchester United was indeed a blessing. We gave him all the support he needed to fly and today he is excelling beyond our imaginations." Carlo Ancelloti says, "every footballer in the world respects him. They know he is simply the best." Jose Mourinho adds, "Ronaldo has nothing to prove anymore. To remain at topflight for over a decade and still moving strong shows dedication to the sport which is the hallmark of a great athlete. I am proud of him having contributed my widow's might to his success story as his coach at Real Madrid and I am proud of him as my compatriot." Zinedine Zidane sums up, "Cristiano is the greatest footballer of all time. The world may not see his likes again but even if his kind would be seen, it may be in another generation"

At 32 Ronaldo still yearns for glory. He still thirsts for honour. He still hungers for victories. He still desires laurels and awards just as he still smells goals daily. Talking about goals several retired and active footballers have scored and are still scoring goals especially hattrick but arguably none did or does with the sporadic effect, ease, simplicity, finesse and frequency with which Ronaldo does it. He scores as if suggesting that he is born to score. He carries the huge burden of scoring and saving his team so much so that every player on the pitch including his opponents believe he will score in every game....they keep thinking its a matter of time for him to bang in a goal or do a bang-bang (brace) or bang-bang-bang (hat trick).

At 32 most footballers are looking at the exit door of their careers. But here we have a player who has a contract extension up till 2021 with Real Madrid. Should he lead Portugal to a good finish in Russia like he did at the last European Championship then, it may call for another look at his contract because the club would certainly want to keep him "for life" to possibly work in other capacities after he retires. Keeping him at Madrid would be keen for Florentino Perez because other clubs could need him even for a season to help boost the moral of their young players.

There is no doubt that football has produced great players in Pele, Zico, Maradona, Cruyff, Jairzinho, Zidane, Ronaldo de Lima, Platini, Hagi, Stoichkov, Kempes, Baggio, Matthaus, Zoff, Baresi, Maldini, Beckenbauer, Scirea, Eusebio, Matthew, Charlton, Cantona, Papin, Romario, Bebeto, Edmundo, Ronaldinho Gaucho, Suker, Boban, Rijkaard, Seedorf, Lineker, Rivaldo, Gullit, Maier, Paulo Rossi, Van Basten, Batistuta, Weah, Milla, Cannavaro, Gascoigne, Keegan, Shearer, Okocha, Kanu, Eto'O, Drogba, Hossam, Henry, El-Hadary and Belloumi among others....but the name Cristiano Ronaldo will standout among these great men of football. To many it is difficult to say Cristiano Ronaldo is the best among all given the fact that these players were of different generations or era....more so, it cannot be said, and that he could put up all these sterling performances and achievements if he was in those eras.

However, CR7 to me is the new face of football. That is the best way I choose to describe him. Pele had his era. Maradona was once the face of football in his era....and today, CR7 is the name, brand and face of his era. He is simply miles ahead and apart from others. He is indeed the new face of football.


He plays with passion. He is full of energy and vigour. He is athletic. He is full of goals. He is an award winner, match winner and King of hattrick. What else and how else can one describe this gift from God to humanity, sports and football but to call him the blessed!!!
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