At Euro 2020 this summer all the spotlights will be on one man, none other than Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese captain and Juventus marksman is one of the greatest and most clutch players the football world has ever seen. His paramount goal scoring abilities for his clubs and national side have made him a part of the “Mount Rushmore of Football” until kingdom come.
A career spanning almost 19 years, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored a phenomenal 775 goals in 1064 matches for his clubs and country. He recently broke Brazillian football legend Pele’s record for most goals in official matches after a hat-trick against Cagliari. Now 36, Cristiano is showing no signs of slowing down and is aging like a fine wine.
At Euro 2020, Ronaldo and Portugal will be hoping to defend their Euro 2016 triumph where they won 1-0 in the final against France.
TRUST THE PROCESS
A young Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to ever play for Sporting CP under-16, under-17 and under-18 teams, B team and senior team, all in one season. In 2002, At 16 years of age Ronaldo made his debut for the senior team and that season became the most promising young prospect the world had probably ever seen. Many big clubs wanted to sign him but eventually Sir Alex Ferguson got his signature and Ronaldo took his talents to Manchester United.
Manchester United was the team that turned Ronaldo from a prospect to a superstar. He received the iconic number 7 shirt that had been worn previously by United legends like Eric Cantona, George Best and David Beckham. Giving it his all for the Red Devils for six years, he netted 118 goals in 292 matches helping them win plenty of silverware.
After winning the FA Cup in his first season, he led the Red Devils to three consecutive Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League and the FIFA Club World Cup. In 2008 he won his first Ballon d’Or award and became the first United player since George Best to win the individual accolade.
Ronaldo from an inexperienced young prospect, he became one of the biggest talents of the footballing world in 6 years. This secured him a move to his dream club, Real Madrid in 2009 for a fee around £80 million making him, at that time, the most expensive transfer of all time.
ROUTE TO GREATNESS
Since that day, Ronaldo has established himself as one of the greatest players to ever grace the football pitch. During the course of his nine seasons for Los Blancos, the Portuguese striker netted an astounding 450 times in 438 competitive appearances making him the club’s all-time leading scorer.
🇵🇹 Cristiano Ronaldo = all-time top scorer for Real Madrid ⚽️
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) January 8, 2021
He led them to four UEFA Champions League titles, two LaLiga titles, two Copa del Reys and Spanish Super Cups apiece, three Club World Cups and three UEFA Super Cups. Known as Mr. Champions League, he is the all-time leading scorer of the competition with 134 goals and also has the record for the most goals in a Champions League campaign with 17.
Talking about individual accolades, Ronaldo won four Ballons d’Or, three Golden Shoe awards, two The Best awards, whilst he was named UEFA Best Player in Europe three times and landed the Pichichi crown on three occasions.
After a first ballot Hall of Fame career at Real Madrid, Ronaldo moved on looking for new challenges and in 2018, joined the Italian giants Juventus for a fee around €100 million. Since then he has won two consecutive Serie A titles and two Supercoppa Italiana.
Ronaldo is having a rather disappointing season with Juventus this year, with the Turin side placed fifth in the Serie A table and getting knocked out early in the round of 16 of Champions League by Porto. This has led to rumours of a transfer away from Italy, especially if Juve do not qualify for the Champions League.
CAPTAIN AND LEADER
Ronaldo made his senior international debut for Portugal in 2003. Since his debut, he has scored 103 goals in 173 caps, both of them being the all-time records for the Portugal national team. In 2016, Ronaldo captained and led Portugal to their first ever major international triumph after Portugal won the Euro 2016, even though Ronaldo was stretchered off in the finals after just 25 minutes.
In the inaugural Nation League Finals he stood out for his nation ,scoring a hat-trick in the semi-finals against Switzerland and became the first player ever to score in 10 consecutive international competitions. Portugal won the finals later, beating Netherlands 1-0.
Cristiano is the joint top scorer in the European Championships alongside Michel Platini with nine goals and also is the top scorer in the European Championship qualifiers with 25 goals.
5⃣0⃣ Cristiano Ronaldo is the all-time top UEFA EURO & World Cup qualifying top scorer ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/vq61oZuT4Q
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) November 30, 2018
Now everyone knows Ronaldo has changed and evolved. He has managed to reinvent himself with age, maximising his instincts inside the box while remaining a physical phenomenon and a competitive beast. The Juventus man is a predator that senses space, opportunity and each day is becoming better without the ball to be more impactful despite being less energetic in the past.
Portugal have been drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Germany and World Cup champions France. The last time Portugal faced Germany at a major tournament was at the 2014 World Cup which they lost 4-0. Portugal will have wiped off the memories of that ill-fated game and will fancy their chances against German side that is there for the taking.
Portugal will welcome old foes France who they beat in the final of the last tournament. The game is expected to be a gun blazing affair and certainly the most exciting group of the tournament.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo be able to turn around his campaign and marshal the talented Portuguese team to defend their 2016 win at Euro 2020?