Cristiano Ronaldo is enjoying yet another glittering season as he approaches his 35th birthday. For over 15 years now, he has been performing at the very highest level, week in and week out.
Just as you would expect things to slow down, he is defying the odds and putting up numbers that are comparable with any of those in his past.
Since the 2005/6 season, Ronaldo has never scored fewer than 20 goals. This season he already has 22.
One of the most impressive things about Cristiano’s career is that he has been the standout player in three of Europe’s top leagues.
At Manchester United, he blew up and became a global superstar. He scored 84 goals in 196 games in the Premier League, on his way to winning every domestic trophy in England.
At United, he also won his first Champions League and was awarded the Ballon d’Or.
Most players could only dream of achieving so much success. Ronaldo was only getting started.
While undoubtedly hard for Manchester United fans to accept, Ronaldo’s dream was always to wear the white of Real Madrid. He achieved this dream in 2009, and it was here where the prince of world football became the king.
Ronaldo’s stats in Spain were ridiculous. In 292 La Liga games, he scored an incredible 311 goals. Again, he won all of the domestic titles, but it was in Europe where the Madrid version of Cristiano made his mark.
During his time at Los Blancos, Ronaldo and Real Madrid won an incredible four Champions League titles, including an unprecedented three in a row.
His last game for Madrid was in the Champions League final victory against Liverpool.
Ronaldo’s move to Juventus is one that Florentino Perez now probably regrets allowing to happen. Gareth Bale has not stepped up as expected in Madrid, and Ronaldo’s level has not dropped off at all since moving to Serie A.
With 28 goals and the Serie A title in his first season, Ronaldo has continued his incredibly high levels of success.
His and the club’s main aspiration must be to take Juventus to Champions League glory, and many would not bet against Ronaldo carrying the club to that target this season.
Ronaldo has enjoyed amazing success at club level. He has won everything in the leagues where he has played, but he has also done it on the international stage too.
In 2016, he led his country to European Championship success and last summer Portugal was crowned Nations League winners.
Even when playing with teammates of lesser quality on the international stage compared with those he has played with at club level, Ronaldo has always found a way to win.
With the European Championship coming around again this summer, it would surprise no one to see Ronaldo lead his team to victory once more.
The level of consistency and the unrelenting nature of the man’s desire to win mean we are now witnessing the greatest player to ever play the game.
Lionel Messi will always be the first name shouted to argue against this, but Ronaldo’s career is simply better.
He has done it in three leagues, won on the international stage and continues to deliver despite approaching his 35th birthday.
Messi is a wonderful footballer. A magician. His natural ability is probably greater than any player in the history of the game. But when looked at as a whole, Ronaldo’s stats throughout his varied career simply don’t lie.
He is the best. And he still hasn’t finished yet.