He’s won both the Ballon d’Or and the Champions League on five occasions, scored 422 goals in 415 games for Real Madrid, and 31 trophies in a glittering career, but the idea that Cristiano is the greatest footballer of all time is wide of the mark. In fact, he might not even be the best player to have played for Real Madrid. Sure his personal stats read like a school boy’s dream career but the best player in the world ever? Not even close and here’s why.

He’s lazy

Okay, so let’s get the first big one out of the way. Ronaldo may be an unbelievably fast sprinter (although he has lost a little of his pace) and works hard to keep himself in incredible shape, but that doesn’t change the fact that he is lazy.

There’s no disputing that he has a great work rate but only in the opposition’s half. Back in 2016 during the El Classico at the Nou Camp, Ronaldo won all kinds of plaudits with pundits and soccer critics the world over fawning over his ‘selfless’ tracking back. The fact that they made such a big deal of that one time he ran back to help the defence says it all.

He’s greedy

Attacking players are selfish – fact. They want to score and often have the confidence to try the impossible at the expense of a teammate who is in a better position than they are. No problem when they score and more often than not, Ronaldo does indeed score.

But there’s selfishness, and then there’s greed. Ronaldo’s narcissistic tendencies are what drives him. He wants to be the best of the best, collect the most trophies, and pick up as many personal accolades as possible. And that makes him greedy.

One moment that perfectly encapsulates this was during another El Classico, this time in December of 2017. With the score at 0-0 Ronaldo found himself in the box, but instead of choosing to square the ball to Modric or Benzema (who were in great positions) he chose to shoot from a tight angle. Opportunity wasted, and Madrid went on to lose 3-0. Case closed.

He’s always played with ‘Galacticos’

We know what you’re going to say about his time at United, but the fact is that Ronaldo has always had quality all around him on the pitch. From Scholes to Bale, Giggs to Dybala, Ronaldo has always been surrounded by pretty decent players. Stick Nicklas Bendtner in with those players, and even he’d look good. Hang on, scratch that, nothing could make Lord Bendtner look good.

The suggestion that flair players can’t do it on a rainy night in Stoke is often used as a stick to beat them with, but Ronaldo can actually do it on a rainy night in Stoke and has done. The question for him is; could he be that good if he played in Stoke week in, week out? There’s no doubt that Ronaldo had to work hard to get his chance with Man United and Alex Ferguson put a lot of faith in his abilities. But since he first rocked up to Old Trafford, he has been surrounded by players with talent by the bucket-load. It would have been interesting to see how his career panned out if his Premier League chance had been gifted to him by a soon-to-be-sacked Peter Reid at Leeds.

He makes it all about himself

Who scored the winning goal for Portugal in the Euro 2016 Final? This is the pub quiz question that will stump footy fans in the not too distant future. The man of the moment was none other than Ederzito António Macedo Lopes better known as Eder. But unfortunately for him, his ‘moment’ lasted for just the 5 seconds it took him to control the ball and take his shot. The rest of the celebrations ‘belonged’ to none other than the injured and self-appointed assistant coach Ronaldo who from the sidelines somehow managed to hog the limelight.

We wouldn’t quite put this in the same category as Serena Williams’ bizarre rant after losing to Naomi Osaka, but it’s still incredibly self-centred and something that we can see in his behaviour both on and off the pitch. The man is narcissism personified.

He’s not even the best player

He may be one of the best attacking players of all-time, but he’ll never be the greatest player. Perhaps if you’re ten years old and looking for a hero, he’ll make it into your top three, but for football fans who have had the pleasure of watching players such as Maldini, Zidane, and Cruyff in their prime, he might not even make the top ten.

There have been far more complete players throughout history. Ask a Madrid fan who their greatest player was, and they’ll likely name Alfredo di Stefano or Ferenc Puskas while very few will even mention Ronaldo in the same breath. It’s a genuine shame because if he put more effort into being a team player he’s give those true greats a run for their money.

The footballing gods have been kind to Ronaldo. He landed on his feet at United and while he certainly earned his move to Real Madrid, he was extremely fortunate to have such great players around him. The greatest of all time? Not even close.

football podcasts
img img img img