Over the course of his career, Portuguese
footballer Cristiano Ronaldo has received five
Ballon d’Or awards, the most for a European player.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he has scored 725 senior career goals and provided 220 assists for club and country. Moreover, he is also the first player in history to win four European Golden Shoes.
Collectively, Ronaldo has won 31 trophies in his career, including six league titles, five
European Cups and one European Championship.
1.Ronaldo introduces himself to the world
It was the inauguration of the Estádio José Alvalade in 2003, and Sporting Lisbon were playing hosts to Manchester United. The result was unexpected as United were beaten 3-1 by Sporting Lisbon. The player who stole the show was a tall, thin teenager from the islands of Madeira. The Manchester United defenders could not believe what they were witnessing as the whole team had a difficult time in handling the young left winger.
The journey of becoming the football player in the world started on this day. Cristiano Ronaldo went on to sign for Manchester United that summer, and he inherited the most iconic No. 7 jersey at the Theatre of Dreams. This was the start of what was yet to come.
2. First UCL trophy and ballon d’or
Nine years after the historic comeback in Barcelona against Bayer Munich, Manchester United were again in the Champions League Final. This time Chelsea was the team to beat in the cold night in Moscow.
Cristiano Ronaldo gave United the lead, as he headed in from a Wes Brown cross. Frank Lampard equalized for Chelsea, which took the game to extra time and eventually penalties. After both the teams had scored their first two penalties, Ronaldo stepped up to take the third kick in the shootout.
After a nervous run-up and a pause, he saw his penalty saved by Petr Cech, as he dived to his left. The shootout sparked when Chelsea Captain John Terry slipped while taking his penalty which led to one of the most famous misses of the tournament’s history. Edwin Van Der Sar saved Nicholas Anelka’s penalty and gave United their third Champions League title.
When the Red Devils ran in joy, the Portuguese could not hold back his tears. The tears of joy could not stop before he lifted his first Champions League trophy. He had a splendid season as he scored 42 goals, which helped Manchester United with the Premier League and the Champions League. Following this, he won his first ever Ballon d’Or.
3. 40 yard screamer against Porto
In April 2009, Manchester United travelled to Porto for the second leg of a Champions League quarter-final, and they were behind on away goals. They needed a moment of magic, so they turned to Ronaldo.
The winger picked the ball up from about a million yards out, took less than a second to think about it and just leathered the ball. It rocketed right into the top corner, despite being in the air for what felt like an eternity.
Ronaldo has done plenty of special things, but this one was on another level. It was like a video game when you’ve turned the shot power up to 100. A human cheat code.
4. Tearing Ibrahimovic’s Sweden apart
It’s not just at club level that Ronaldo has shone. He’s had more than his fair share of outstanding showings at international level, and one of his finest performances came against Sweden in November 2013.
Billed as a heavyweight clash between Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimović, it was the Portugal man who came out on top thanks to his outstanding hat-trick. All three of his second-half goals were brilliant, and he could have easily had four or five.
It’s common for defenders to fail to cope with Ronaldo, but rarely does he dominate like he did in this one. Both he and Zlatan were on different planets, but Ronaldo was in a galaxy of his own.
5. Becoming Real Madrid all time highest goal scorer
Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player who has more goals than games played for a club. His goal scoring abilities are known to the entire world. The fact that his goals-to-game ratio is more than one for Real Madrid – having scored 426 goals in 421 appearances for the Los Blancos – reflects his attacking intent.
On 17 October in 2015, when Ronaldo scored the second goal in a 3-0 victory over Levante, he surpassed Raul’s tally of 323 goals and became Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer. Ronaldo played 300 fewer games than Raul to achieve this feat.
The feeling of being a club’s all-time top scorer will remain with him for a while until someone comes and breaks his record, but for the time being it is Ronaldo who is here to stay.
There are many moments that miss the list, but what we can hope for is that Ronaldo creates more moments like these before he hangs up his boots.
6.Five goals and one assist masterpiece
There have been plenty of examples of Ronaldo being far too good for his opponents, but one of the best examples came against Espanyol in January 2016.
Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick in a 6-0 win for Real Madrid, but it was his second which was so special. He chopped the ball past one defender, then skipped between two more and fired the ball home, and he did it all with terrifying ease.
It looked like he didn’t even care that their were players in his way. Ronaldo breezed through everyone in his path and scored one of the finest individual goals of his career.
7. Becoming the first player to reach 100 UCL goals
In 2017, the Portugal international became the first player to score 100 career goals in the UCl with a hat trick against Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich.
Till date, he holds the record of being the player with the most goals(128) and assists(40) in UEFA premier competition.
8. First international trophy with Portugal
By looking at the way Portugal arrived at the tournament, this was not exactly the culmination that had been foreseen. Yet they put behind the ignominy of early exits in a major tournament by coming out with flying colours in Euro 2016. The best ever player to don the deep red colours of Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo made sure that he contributed enough to drag his team over the line.
He may not have had the best of starts, but stepped up his game as the tournament progressed. He netted twice in the 3-3 draw against Hungary, assisted a late winner deep into extra time in the last-16 win against Croatia. He also scored in the penalty shootout victory against Poland in the quarter-final, and his towering header, ensured that Portugal got past Wales in the semi-finals. However, the man of the big occasions had his final cut short by an awful injury. Yet, it didn’t stop him from influencing the game from the sidelines. In extraordinary scenes in extra-time, Ronaldo functioned as an auxiliary manager, proving that he isn’t afraid to take on any role, no matter how big. Not only was he organising and motivating them, he even gave tactical instructions, just like any manager would do. And in the end, all the honours was theirs for the taking.
Ronaldo may have experienced a wide range of emotions throughout his illustrious career and in Paris, he experienced all of it that one night. It will forever remain as one of the most iconic moments of Ronaldo’s career.
9. His greatest goal ever?
Keeping in mind what happened in the previous year’s Champions League final, Juventus knew this would be an uncomfortable evening before it had even started. It was a Champions League quarter-final game, it was summer of 2018 and Juventus were up against Real Madrid. A tightly packed Allianz Stadium in Turin witnessed yet another Ronaldo masterclass and it propelled Real Madrid to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
While his first goal didn’t need any reality check to confirm that he is human, his second one was out of this world. The Portuguese international came up with one of the most exquisite bicycle kick goals ever seen. Making a customary run into the box behind the defence he latched on to a Daniel Carvajal Ramos cross that became an assist. He somehow controls his body in the air to connect his right foot with the ball and smashed it into the top corner. The only thing legendary keeper Gianluigi Buffon could do was to join the crowd to appreciate the beauty of the strike. Such a worldie it was. His teammates were stunned, so were his opponents. The ones in the stadium couldn’t believe it either. Neither could the millions glued to the television screens. It’s true we have witnessed countless iconic moments in the past decade, yet it will be hard to find anything better than this.
10. Saving Juventus against Atletico Madrid
Perhaps the single greatest performance of Ronaldo’s career came in a Juventus shirt when he fired I Bianconeri to a dramatic 3-0 win over
Atlético Madrid in March 2019.
Juve were dead and buried after losing the first leg 2-0, but Ronaldo didn’t care. He netted two headers and a penalty, but it wasn’t just about the goals. It was about the sheer dominance of his performance against one of Europe’s most resolute defences.
When Juventus called, he answered emphatically, reaffirming his status as one of the finest performers in Champions League history.
This story is culled from Nairaland.com. Created by OfficialJayy.