One day soon – perhaps even within the next one to two seasons – Cristiano Ronaldo is going to retire from playing professional football. Lionel Messi won’t be far behind him if he hasn’t already retired himself by that point. With them gone, a whole era in world football will have come to a close. Until they appeared, the question of who the best player in the history of the sport is was largely a debate about Pele and Diego Maradona. Both Ronaldo and Messi have arguably been better than them both, and the fact that both of them happened to be playing at the same time is a freak occurrence that we’re never likely to see happen again.
While the majority of soccer fans feel that Messi is the better player from a technical point of view, Ronaldo is more spectacular, and has excelled at the international level in a way that Messi could only dream of. He’s also extremely marketable. People who’ve never watched a game of soccer in their lives know who Ronaldo is. When the game ‘Striker Goes Wild’ was released for online slots websites, it wasn’t Messi’s image they used to promote it, but Ronaldo’s. That’s not to say that a new slots UK based on Lionel Messi wouldn’t be popular, but perhaps it’s telling that the company thought that Ronaldo would attract more players than his Argentinian counterpart. Whether it’s soft drinks, underwear, online slots, or something else, everything that Ronaldo’s image is linked to is a big deal from a financial point of view.
Aside from being a marketing dream, Ronaldo has set a whole series of records that will probably never be broken on a soccer pitch, and here are just five of the most eye-catching.
Most Champions League Goals
The annual competition to decide the best team from among Europe’s top leagues is arguably the most prestigious and the hardest to win in world club football. Cristiano Ronaldo may have had a slight advantage in obtaining this record as he’s been fortunate enough to play for Real Madrid, who have won more Champions League trophies than any other team, but the fact that Ronaldo scored so many goals for them is a big part of their recent success in the competition, and it shouldn’t be forgotten that he won the trophy while he was at Manchester United, too. At present, Ronaldo’s record stands at 129, and he could still score more before he calls it quits. Messi could still theoretically outscore him, but it seems unlikely.
Most Goals For Real Madrid
While we’re on the topic of Ronaldo’s incredible achievements at Real Madrid, we should mention the fact that he’s the club’s all-time top scorer. He may play in Italy for Juventus these days, but he can do so safe in the knowledge that there’s nobody at his former club who stands even the ghost of a chance of eclipsing his record. Ronaldo scored an astonishing 450 goals during his time at the Bernabeu. That’s more than most players score in their whole career, let alone at one club. This is the club of Raul, and of Puskas, and of Alfredo Di Stefano. To make his achievement all the more impressive, he broke the record in 2015 after only six years with the team. To put that in perspective, the top scorer still at the club today is Karim Benzema, a striker who has scored 241 goals in a little over ten years.
Most Team Of The Year Appearances
When each soccer season draws to a close, each league draws up a ‘team of the year’ based on the performances of all the players who belong to each competition. Getting into the team of the year within your domestic league is impressive. Getting into UEFA’s team of the year, which factors in players from every league in Europe, is an incredible achievement. Cristiano Ronaldo has appeared in UEFA’s team of the year no less than fourteen times. That phenomenal number includes appearances in every team of the year from 2004 through to 2019, and we can’t rule him out of appearing in the 2020 team of the year yet either.
Most Caps For Portugal
Representing your country is the ultimate honor for any footballer. Just getting to pull on your nation’s shirt and compete at an international tournament is a huge accolade, and a way of showing that you’re one of the best players in your country during the time you’re playing. Ronaldo has had that honor for Portugal more than any other player in history. He’s been capped 164 times by his country, and he’s still turning out for them now. That’s more than the legendary Eusebio, and in modern times it’s more than Luis Figo. Ronaldo has appeared at multiple World Cups and European Championships, and was the team’s captain when they won their first-ever European Championship in 2016.
Most International Goals By A European
This is another record that Ronaldo not only holds but is still adding to. His next goal for Portugal will be his one hundredth. When you consider that the ‘top goalscorer’ record of most major nations is between 40 and 60, reaching a century is an astonishing achievement. The only player in world football history who’s scored more international goals is Iran’s Ali Daei with 109, and he scored most of those against low-ranking teams. The bulk of Ronaldo’s goals have come against teams at the top end of FIFA’s ranking system. With only ten goals to score to break the record, the smart money says that Ronaldo will do it before he retires even if he does have fewer games ahead of him than he does behind him.
Statistics don’t lie, and the statistics show us quite clearly that Ronaldo is simply one of the most gifted players ever to strap on a pair of boots and head out onto the field. Messi may get more adulation, but Ronaldo has set a whole series of records that are so far ahead of the rest that they might still be standing in 100 years’ time.