Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the greatest footballers of all time. He is often pit against Lionel Messi and both of them have their fair share of diehard fans. Fans of Lionel Messi regard him as the best. Fans of Cristiano Ronaldo hail him as the absolute best. While the Argentine who plays for Barcelona and the Portuguese who plays for Real Madrid will keep fighting for the Ballon d’Or for many more years, it is safe to say that Cristiano Ronaldo is in the league of extraordinary footballers that include the likes of Pele, Maradona, Zidane, the Brazilian Ronaldo, Best and Maldini among others.
1. Cristiano Ronaldo Trumps George Best
In 2008, when Cristiano Ronaldo scored his thirty-third goal in a season as a winger while playing for Manchester United, he did not just break George Best’s record of thirty two goals playing for the same club in the same position. Ronaldo also emerged as, perhaps, the best winger in English club football. Yet to become a sensation in La Liga, Ronaldo was hailed as ‘Best since Best’, which seemed to be a fitting tribute but there are many who claim that Ronaldo is far better than Best. While the English may dispute that, the Portuguese and fans of Real Madrid root otherwise.
2. European League Record
Cristiano Ronaldo is not just a fascinating footballer who can outwit and outsmart his opponents but he is also an embodiment of records. He may have been less lucky than Messi with the Ballon d’Or but he holds many records, some of which are yet to be broken. One such record is his standing in European leagues for having scored fifty goals or more in a season and to have repeated the feat in as many as five seasons.
3. Fastest Milestone of 100 League Goals
Playing for Real Madrid in La Liga, Ronaldo became the fastest footballer to score the hundredth goal. During the same season in 2012, Ronaldo managed to score against every single team playing in La Liga. This was also a first of its kind record. Also, in the same season he scored the maximum goals by any La Liga player in a given season.
4. Most UEFA Goals
For the season ending in 2014, Ronaldo scored 17 goals in the UEFA Champions League. That is still the highest for any player in a single season of UEFA Champions League.
5. Most Expensive Footballer in the World
Ronaldo has numerous goal records to his credit. He was the fastest in La Liga to score 200 goals. He scored the 200th goal in his 178th match. In the same match against Celta Vigo, he had scored a hat-trick which was his 23rd hat-trick in the league, also a record. He scored eight hat-tricks in the season ending in 2015, which remains to be the highest for any footballer in La Liga in a given season. With such milestones come big bucks.
In 2009, Cristiano Ronaldo was transferred to Real Madrid from Manchester United. The transfer was priced at £80 million or $131.6 million. That was the most expensive transfer in the history of club football. Subsequently, the record was broken by his Real Madrid teammate Gareth Bale who got transferred from Tottenham Hotspur. Beyond the transfer fee, Ronaldo is still the most precious footballer in the world with his €21 million per year contract with Real Madrid.
6. Two Consecutive Barclays Player of the Month
Only Bergkamp and Fowler had managed to win two consecutive Player of the Month in the English Premier League in history till Ronaldo joined them in 2006. Ronaldo took home the honors for his performance in November and December.
7. Three Ballon d’Ors
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the Ballon d’Or three times, which get him the second place among all time wins. Only Messi has four. Ronaldo has found the runners-up place in contention for the Ballon d’Or on three occasions. Messi has been on two occasions. Only three other players in history have three such awards, which are akin to Oscars for sports or perhaps Palme d’Or: Michel Platini, Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten.
8. The Portuguese Legacy
Portugal has always been a revered underdog in football. There are times when the country displays some prowess on the field and emerges as a top contender in the World Cups but they have never managed to win one. The closest Portugal had come to winning a world cup was when they debuted in 1966 and ended up at the third place. The closest they came to winning the cup since was when Luis Figo spearheaded the team in 2006 and secured the fourth place. Ronaldo, just like Messi, is chasing the elusive World Cup dream, which the Argentine came close to in 2014. Only the Cup remains unconquered for the illustrious Cristiano Ronaldo.