It’s the question that will be forever debated. Who is the greatest footballer of all time?
Pele? Over 1,000 career goals would suggest so. Maradona? The Goal of the Century certainly backs that up. George Best? Ferenc Puskas? Johan Cruyff? Ronaldo? Zidane? They all have a case.
The Portuguese superstar has finally been awarded with his second Ballon d’Or after five years without it, and following another Champions League win – Real Madrid’s tenth – he must surely be considered right up there with the very very best.
He certainly has all the attributes – and much more. The skill of Cruyff. The grace of Zizou. The style of Best. And the finishing of his Brazilian namesake, Ronaldo.
Michael Owen has recently come out and said he’s Real’s best, which would mean better than Zidane and Ronaldo LuísNazário de Lima – who scored 83 goals at his time with the Galacticos before turning to being lethal on the green velvet as a PokerStars ambassador.
It’s a little difficult to really decide who is the best of all time. After all, Zidane has a different style to Ronaldo, as does Cruyff to Pele, and throwing the likes of Beckenbauer and Moore in there would confuse matters further, but like a pound-for-pound boxer, you can’t help but think Cristiano has the complete package if there is ever to be a definitive answer.
And it’s almost as though he deserves it. Not discrediting any of the other heroes to grace the beautiful game, but the transformation from wiry, spotty teenager with a few step-overs at Sporting Lisbon, to the genuine powerhouse he is today is simply phenomenal.
Hard work, dedication, and desire to be the world’s best saw him spend countless hours in the gym, and on the training field, making it hard to think of anything he can’t do.
His dazzling footwork and goalscoring ability that has seen him bang in 252 goals in 246 games for Madrid speak for themselves, but what often goes unnoticed is the fact that he’s one of the best headers of the ball in the game and Cristiano Ronaldo’s vertical jump height record is by far one of the best. The pressure on the man is simply unmatchable in today’s game, and the fact that he does this whilst inspiring the players around him pushes the man right to the very top.
The debate will of course always rumble on as regards to who is the best ever. It’s hard enough deciding between Ronaldo and Messi. But when Sir Alex Ferguson calls you, “the most gifted player I managed”, Zidane calls you “a genius”, and Luis Suarez says you’re a “perfect machine”, you know you’re something real special.