Why every “modern-day footballer” must use Cristiano Ronaldo as an example in order to reach greatness.
Performance wise we are yet to decide who the best between Ronaldo and Messi is, but one thing is for sure; Apart from making the opposition look like a pub-team the two don’t have much in common.
Lionel Messi is a one club man. The Argentine has been at Barcelona ever since he was 13 years old. He is a nice and humble lad and the whole world loves him. He is hardly linked with a move away from the Catalans and is not in the media for the wrong reasons. He is one-off player who is just perfect both on and off the pitch.
Cristiano Ronaldo on the other hand, epitomizes a modern day footballer in every way. He is a poster boy who cares about his looks. He is an attention seeker who loves toying with the media. He is arrogant and has a huge ego. He sulks a few times and has been criticized of the occasional dive. But he is also an exceptional player, and should be an example/role-model for all other footballers.
It’s hard to find role models especially in the current money-driven state that football is in.
Manu Adebayor suggested to the Arsenal board that he be paid like Thiery Henry, if they wanted him to play like Henry. This sounds absolutely ridiculous, as it comes out of the mouth of a player who has had only one great season in his entire career.
Cometh the transfer window, cometh the quotes of Carlos Tevez feeling home-sick and wanting to return to Argentina. The Manchester City striker refused to come on as a substitute against Bayern Munich – a move that infuriated the manager and the fans.
William Gallas threatened to score an own-goal if he wasn’t sold by Chelsea. The likes of Barton and Ballotelli appear in the media for all the wrong reasons – whether it is an assault or throwing away their jersey just after a Champions League semi final victory.
Eden Hazard, although highly talented, conducted the worlds’ first “twitter transfer” that was deemed highly unprofessional by many fans. Manchester United’s talented youngsters Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba epitomize the current state of football in a perfect way. Ravel, although supremely talented, missed training frequently and had too many off-the-field problems that were deemed a distraction. Pogba on the other hand found the grass greener in Turin after receiving some bad advice from his greedy agent.
While these cases represent all that is wrong in football, Cristiano Ronaldo has evolved above all that. From being labeled a “one-trick show pony” that used to go to ground easily, he has now become the best player in the world.
Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has stated that the things Ronaldo has achieved are due to hours of training and hard work while Messi on the other hand is more naturally gifted. That may be true to some extent, as after years of hard work Ronaldo has become one of the most complete players in footballing history. His bravery and heading ability are second to none, he is truly two-footed and has bullets in his boots, there are very few players in the world who are better at dead-ball situations and he is built like an ox, therefore is rarely pushed off the ball.
This leads to the simple question – why don’t other players care about improving their game as much as Ronaldo does? Brazilian midfielder Anderson was dubbed the “next Ronaldinho” when he was a teenager with immense potential but now at 24 he can’t score goals to save his life, has fitness problems and is one of the most one-footed players around. Instead of being professional and recovering quickly, he is caught for drunk-driving during his time off due to injury. No wonder he hasn’t fulfilled his potential!
Ronaldo has always had the determination to be the best and puts in the effort in order to achieve his goal. His hard work and effort must be appreciated and not shunned.
Cristiano Ronaldo also has self-confidence oozing out of his veins. He believes in his ability, and his arrogance helps him in believing that he is the best in the world. In an FA Cup clash versus Borro when he was accused of diving, Cristiano said in an interview “It is a decision for the referee. For me it is a penalty. You need to look at the television. I just don’t understand as every time with Cristiano it is a polemic and I don’t know why. Maybe some people don’t like me. Maybe I’m just too good.” To be honest that day he was too good to handle for his opponents.
This may come as a surprise but very few players have the same amount of self-confidence as Ronaldo to try the things he does on the football field. He never shies away from responsibility, something that Dimitar Berbatov can learn from him. The Bulgarian, although immensely talented, is often found criticizing himself and sulking after each missed opportunity.
Ronaldo doesn’t let criticism affect his game and his professionalism is something to be adored. He could have left Manchester United after the World Cup debacle of 2006 but he came back strongly and won over his critics and also the player of the year award.
Another thing observed is that none of his former clubs have anything bad to say about him. Even though now he is a Real Madrid player, “viva Ronaldo” is continuously sung around at Old Trafford.
He refers to Lisbon as his second home and didn’t celebrate when he scored for Manchester United against Sporting Lisbon. He instead raised his hands as though he wanted them to forgive him for scoring against them.
Ronaldo also paid heed to the words of the great Sir Matt Busby – “you don’t need to chase money at a club like Manchester United. It will eventually find you.” He concentrated on improving his game in his early years at the club rather than worry about his pay-check. Something most of the youngsters fail to do now a days.
He often refers to Sir Alex as his second father and appreciates the effort the Scott and Carlos Queiroz put in helping him develop into a great player. He is still in touch with Ferguson and the pair has a good relationship, something that can’t be said of some of the other players to have left Old Trafford.
After winning the Champions League in 2008 he wanted to leave the Old Trafford club for the club of his dreams “Real Madrid”. Ferguson then managed to convince Ronaldo to stay put for one more season. Unlike other players, instead of putting a tantrum and throwing toys out of his pram he scored 26 goals and help Manchester United win their 18th league title and reach the Champions League final.
This winning mentality was just something that Ronaldo was born with. He just hates coming second, so much so that the World Record transfer has his name written on it. So while some would have considered the 80m price to be a burden, Cristiano has made it look like a bargain.
He has even taken a march over his predecessor at Old Trafford. David Beckham was often criticized for letting his off-field life interfere with his on-field performances. Beckham is now deemed more of a poster boy as he plies his trade for LA Galaxy.
Ronaldo on the other hand has the marketing ability of “Brand Beckham” and the footballing talent that will again make him a contender when the “Ballon D’or” is awarded.
- by Rohit Shankarmani