It has been 4750 days since a 18 year old player became the first ever Portuguese player to play a Premier League match for English giants Manchester United. It has 4750 days since a new chapter in modern football began. It has been 4750 days since a huge number of people started following football. People have not left ever since. People who have remained loyal since that very day.
It has been exactly 13 years and a day since Cristiano Ronaldo made his debut for the Red Devils against Bolton Wanderers at the Theatre of Dreams coming on a 60th minute substitute in what was described as the “most exciting debut ever” by United Legend George Best.
And the rest as we all know, has been jotted down in the pages of history naming him perhaps the most dynamic footballer the world has ever seen.
With countless trophies for his clubs as well as an enormous number of individual accolades, 31 year-old Ronaldo has already earned a place in the history of football as Real Madrid’s most successful player till date. His feats are uncountable and last month, the only black spot he had in his career was wiped off as he lifted the Euro Cup for Portugal after his team helped him clinch a 1-0 win against a rampant France in the finals.
Inspite of the success he has achieved, it has all not been very easy for the Portuguese striker as he always had his fair share of up and downs in his 13 year career in the big leagues of professional football.
Of all the things he faced, three of the most significant phases of his life that has made Cristiano Ronaldo who he is today:
FIFA Ballon d’Or 2013:
Many people might argue that Ronaldo’s first World Player of the Year award back in 2008 was his most significant achievement in his life but that is rarely the case. After being beaten by Argentine superstar Lionel Messi four consecutive years to the award, Ronaldo won the Ballon d’Or again in 2013, the same year when he played a crucial role in Real’s conquest of a 10th Champions League title or ‘La Decima’. The emotional value of the award which was handed to Ronaldo by Pele was enormous and clearly visible as the Real Madrid striker could in no way hold off his tears while receiving his much coveted award. His tears were very significant as they were symbolic of the immense amount of hard work and tenacity he had to show in the last four years. Already stating before that the Ballon d’Or is an award of utmost importance to him, Ronaldo had to toil and face failure for a period of four consecutive years before he could lay his hands on the piece of the very award which he holds in such high regard.
Then and there, the most dynamic left winger the world has ever seen taught a lesson to each and every person around the world that with sheer hard work, patience and perseverance, no goal is impossible to achieve and no target is unrealistic if you really put your heart into it.
Of course he goes on to win it the year after that too, but his first Golden Ball after the four year gap will always be the award of utmost significance in his life.
Euro cup Triumph 2016:
Since the loss to Greece in the 2004 Euro cup final, Ronaldo had a taboo on his back regarding major titles with the national team and this earned him criticism from various aspects and greats of the game. The fact that in spite of being vastly successful for his clubs, the empty national silverware cabinet of the Portuguese player was a regular talking point among those who stop at nothing to demean the player.
Perseverance paid off as Ronaldo had the last laugh with the much coveted European Championship trophy was in his hands by the end of final’s night. His pain on being subbed off in the opening minutes of the final was clearly visible might have dealt a major blow to him psychologically but his spirit was intact as he was seen in a sideline role during the extra time which surprised everyone in the world.
His confidence in his team paid off as the team clinched a crowd-silencing victory courtesy and extra-time goal by Eder clinching the title of European Champions for their captain who couldn’t control his emotions while limping around by the sideline. For a player who has won all major trophies including three UEFA Champions League titles, the chance to lift a major European trophy for his country was singular and Ronaldo has already rated it as the most emotional piece of silverware he has achieved.
Perhaps the most significant contribution to Ronaldo’s success and his goal-scoring prowess has been Lionel Messi. The debate about the best player in the world is one that would never end and it has become a part of everyones life by now. Why Messi is so significant in Ronaldo’s success? Why is Messi a chapter in Ronaldo’s flourishment.? The answers lie in the very matches we see. Since United, Ronaldo has been a player who has always been in search of a challenge and at one point in his career he was in utter lack of a worthy challenger. And then Lionel Messi entered the scene, swept four consecutive Ballon d’Ors and gate-crashed Ronaldo’s hope for a second World Player accolade for ages to come even in the year where he won the La Liga title with Madrid under Mourinho. Messi’s performance and goal scoring prowess has been a constant reminder to Cristiano about the high level of competition he has to face in order to become the best. It has been a constant source of motivation for the Portuguese superstar to get the better of his Argentine rival and in doing so this rivalry has reached the pinnacle of achievement and it is safe to say that the same has little chance of being repeated Ever in the future. Messi’s five golden balls is very important for Ronaldo because it keeps pushing him. His desire to equal or even overcome Messi makes him a better and more confident player every passing second in a game and that is why perhaps he is well deservedly closing in on the Argentine with his potential fourth golden ball almost round the corner in early 2017.
For each and every one of Ronaldo’s fans indulging in a comparison between the both of them, a small reminder should be given to them that, never been before have two players kept an individual awards nine times between themselves and also that Messi is of utmost significance to Ronaldo’s success.
Its like what the Joker told Batman in Christopher Nolan’s famous Dark Knight trilogy.
Its what happens ”When an Unstoppable Force Meets an Immovable Object.”