Of a man who turns 38 in a little over a month’s time, more surely cannot be asked; not after notching 701 goals (including 50 hat-tricks) and 201 assists in 947 club appearances, as well as lifting 5 Champions League titles, 3 EPL titles, 2 La Liga titles, 2 Serie A titles, 3 UEFA Super Cup titles among others.
Ronaldo has silenced the fiercest grounds – Nou Camp , Allianz Arena, Anfield, name it. He has scored all types of goals from ‘taconazos’ (back flicks) to bicycle kicks. He leaves Europe as the player with most Champions League games (183) and most Champions League goals (140). He is the only one to score in 3 UCL finals, the only one to score in 11 straight UCL games and the player with most goals (17) in a single UCL season.
There is no denying that his career has dipped in recent months. The legs have been tiring naturally under the weight of age. Fair to say, Ronaldo’s genius year in year out has spoiled football fans with ecstasy so much that his name has been conjoined to the extraordinary, and he automatically morphed into a victim of his own high standards.
In the awe of the excellence he produced week after week for years, the clock has ticked away in the blink of an eye, that fans forget he is 25 months shy of 40. It is a reality hard to accept.
The perfect move at this point would have been a 6-month stint at Real Madrid where he would recover the glow he lost at Manchester United recently, and get the legendary Bernabeu farewell he deserves.
However, that did not happen and he is not to blame. Al-Nassr are here with a bumper deal. Not only is the deal the opportunity of a lifetime to export his talent to the gulf where he will revolutionize the game and be remembered for eternity, it is equally in the image of a reward for the enormous influence he has had on the growth of the modern game.
From the Madeira boy who had nothing to eat to a billionaire football star with a library of records, ‘El bicho’ Cristiano Ronaldo could not have done more. He is sports heritage. If you have to tell him anything, it’s “THANK YOU” for everything.