When Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview that “I’m the greatest player in the world as nobody has achieved as much as me”, the internet trolls had a field day. Countless memes and gifs flooded the internet, poking fun at the Portuguese skipper with one even saying, “He isn’t even the greatest Ronaldo in the world”, signalling that Brazil’s Luis Ronaldo, who guided the ‘Samba Boys’ to the 2002 World Cup final, was a greater player.
After the brouhaha had settled, a big, a leading news website came out with a brilliant article highlighting what Cristiano has achieved as opposed to what yesteryear stars had. They stayed away from comparing him with Lionel Messi though, probably saving that for a later stage, perhaps when they both retire.
An astonishing fact was that since winning the FA with Manchester United in the 2003-2004 season, Cristiano has gone on to win 22 more trophies till now. And not just any trophies. They include 3 Premier Leagues, 3 La Ligas, 4 Fifa Club World Cups and most importantly, 4 Champions League trophies. Who else has such a glittering trophy cabinet? Leaving out Messi, of course. For the record, Ronaldo has won a European Championship with the national team, while the Argentinian cannot boast of anything notable in his international colours, except reaching the 2014 World Cup final.
Stats only tell half a story though. A seasoned football fan will see how Ronaldo reinvents himself every year, year after year. It’s like the same story. He seems like a desperate figure till December, scoring a goal here and there, but then come January, it’s a whole different story.
This season was no exception. After sort of losing his way back in November, he’s suddenly turned into a goal-machine in the early part of 2018.
So far this year, he has proven himself to be the king of the scorers among the six major European leagues (Portugal added to the commonly quoted ‘Big 5’). After his brace against Eibar on March 10, his 17 official goals since the turn of the year have come at such a pace that even the likes of Atletico’s Griezmann (14), Barça’s Luis Suárez and Benfica’s Jonas (both with 13), nor the trio of Messi, Neymar and Agüero, who all have 12, can keep up.
Despite his slow start across the first half of this campaign, Cristiano still wasn’t far off being top scorer of the whole of 2017, finishing third with 53 goals behind Messi (54) and Harry Kane (56). But right now he is sitting back upon his perceived throne. His return to form has seen him score an average this year of 1.41 goals per game, and the main difference has come in the league. On 18 November 2017, he left the pitch after derby with only one goal still to his name in the competition. In 2018 he has already celebrated 14, and the ratio is only getting better for Los Blancos.