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Ronaldo broke all sorts of records last night in the Champions League as he reached a landmark number of 500 career goals. A number that very few players will ever reach.
He extended his record of being the highest scoring Real Madrid player in the Champions League and the overall highest scoring player of all time too. Basically the same thing, but one day he may cling onto being Real Madrid’s highest European scorer.
He also became Real Madrid’s highest goal scorer of all time. The biggest club in the world, and Ronaldo now sits at the top of all those players who ever played there.
It genuinely is quite a staggering achievement and really can’t be under-appreciated.
Remarkable player, but unlucky to live in the Messi era
Of course, in many ways Ronaldo is unlucky to live in the era of Messi. If Messi wasn’t playing then Ronaldo would be unquestionably the greatest and possibly the greatest of all time.
To say who is the better of the two is so difficult. However, there is one thing that sets them both apart from everyone, consistency.
Ronaldo is probably the best player in the world off the ball, sometimes this is helped by a lack of defending but what he gives you is an extra attacker in every single attack.
If there is an attack happening for his team, he will be involved in it and that is key to his success. He works harder than anyone I have seen to get into the box, to get on the end of a cross or make the through ball.
He scores an incredible amount of headers and that is actually a testament to his off the ball running. It’s something he has over Messi, an extra dimension to his attack. They may not always look amazing but if you score 500 headers, then you still go down as one of the all time greats.
The Man United days
Back in his Manchester United days he saw more of the ball at his feet and we forget how fast and agile he can be on the ball, he has adapted his role somewhat at Real Madrid to become more of a goal poacher.
However, don’t be fooled, he still scores some wonderful goals and a lot of the things going on are far harder than he makes them look.
The example is above, see how he turns to run at the defender before it reaches him. He touches the ball out to a team-mate and then opens the play up by playing it through the middle. He sees where the play is going and knows that he doesn’t need to get beyond the defender, but actually come back as the defenders retreat.
Then the finish is actually really difficult, many players will get under the ball and scoop it over, or miss it completely.
From here on out, it will be very interesting to see where he goes. Part of me thinks that he will never want to quit because his desire to go on will be so strong. Another part of me thinks that he will quit while he is ahead as he can’t stand the thought of not being the best.
The phenomena that is Ronaldo means that over the coming years as his age does start to catch up with him and his goals do start to dry up, he will probably only notch 15-20 goals in one season. A tally unmatched probably by most strikers and almost all wingers. That will be Ronaldo at his worst.
He is physically very fit and so you can see him going on for a long time which means more records could well tumble — he can set a legacy of records that we may never see broken in this lifetime.
A worry: Rafa Benitez
His main worry should be that Rafa Benitez is his new manager – a manager that seems to believe that players have an expiry date regardless of their ability (not mentioning any names – Terry).
Love him or hate him, you can’t deny Ronaldo’s ability. He definitely needs to throw less tantrums but he has got to where he is on his footballing ability and his attitude of being the best.
At the end of the day, that is what makes him a record breaker.
This piece was first published at the excellent The Players Only Club here.
Written by Jonny Troy
Follow Jonny on Twitter @Jonny_Troy
Check out his excellent football blog, where this piece was originally published: The Players Only Club
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