Ten Times Cristiano Ronaldo Confirmed His Status as the Greatest Of All Time

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The Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi debate is as pointless as it is infuriating. To most people, those who don’t count themselves as super fans of either, it is annoying that we can’t seem to enjoy both together.

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But everyone has their favourite. When Messi was inspiring Barcelona under Pep Guardiola, there was not much of an argument as to who was better, but Ronaldo has hit back in recent years to spark up a genuine debate as to who is not only the best out of the two of them, but also of all time.

Here are ten ways Ronaldo has staked his claim.

1. He smashed the world transfer record

Okay, so a lot of players have become the most expensive in the world during their careers, but there has been no greater jump in the price tags than between Zinedine Zidane’s £48m move from Juventus to Real Madrid in 2001 and Ronaldo’s from Manchester United seven years later, worth £80m.

It seemed so far-fetched that anyone could pay more for anyone than Real did for the great Zidane, but Ronaldo cost almost double. The Portugal international may not hold the record any more, but Gareth Bale and Paul Pogba only cost marginally more as we look back eight years on. Someone may well move for as much as £100million this summer, but Ronaldo set the precedent.

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2. He is Real Madrid’s top scorer

Before Ronaldo, there were two Real Madrid players who sat above every other: Raul and Alfredo di Stefano. The latter was nicknamed ‘the godfather of Real Madrid’ for his exploits wearing Los Blancos’ famous shirt.

He scored 308 goals in 396 goals, a record which stood for decades before Raul wracked up 323 in 747 games. But neither come close to Ronaldo’s ongoing total of 406 in just 394 games.

3. He is the first player to score over 100 Champions League goals

Ronaldo has made the Champions League his own, winning it no fewer than four times with two different clubs. He and Messi have been vying for the goalscoring record in the competition for quite some time, but he showed his dominance by becoming the first player to reach 100 goals.

The record came with a hat-trick against Bayern Munich in last season’s quarter finals. Not bad.

4. Could he be anymore decisive?

A goal in the Champions League final of 2008 for Manchester United, scoring the winner in the 2011 Copa Del Rey final, against Messi’s Barcelona, another in the 2014 Champions League final, the final penalty two years later and a brace in May’s European showpiece.

Ronaldo has not always performed at his best in finals, but his contributions can never be questioned. They say trophies in football measure greatness, and he has certainly earned his fair share.

5. He has won an international tournament

If there was ever a criticism levelled at both Messi and Ronaldo, it was that they never reproduced their club form for their countries. But in 2016, Messi missed a penalty in the Copa America final, while Ronaldo, albeit injured for the last game, helped Portugal win the European Championships.

His leadership qualities were there for all to see, on and off the pitch.

6. He may end his career with the most Ballon d’Ors

Currently, Messi has five Ballon d’Ors to his name, won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015, to Ronaldo’s four from 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016. But the fact that he has won three of the last four shows how he has hit new heights more recently.

There seems to be no sign of him slowing down any time soon, and he is likely to match Messi this year after yet more success. Who can argue that he will beat Messi to another record by the time they both retire?

7. He is the most famous footballer on earth

As mentioned above, Messi and Ronaldo both have loyal fan bases, but it can be argued Ronaldo’s are more defined.

His style of play, his celebrations when he scores and even the way he acts off the pitch have brought more attention to football, taking the fame of the game to a whole new level.

8. He has worked well with every manager he has played under

Some players thrive under certain coaches and fail under others, but not Ronaldo. Whoever he is playing for, whether it is Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho or Rafa Benitez, who was sacked after just six months in charge of Real Madrid in 2016, Ronaldo is as brilliant as ever.

9. He is so adaptable

Part of the reason he has become so successful is how he has changed his game. From the 18-year-old winger signed by United in 2003, he has developed more into a striker as his career, despite never actually changing his position on the pitch.

He still starts out wide, but as his pace has reduced with age, his impact on games has deteriorated, as proven by his lack of impact in finals, but he still manages to score a huge amount of goals.

10. He can carry on for years

Now 32, Ronaldo is at the age when normal footballers begin to contemplate retirement. But he is no average footballer, and there is speculation he could be in demand this summer after reportedly informing Real of his decision to leave.

He has a contract until he is 36, but there is absolutely no doubt he will still be a world beater by the end of his contract in four years time.

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