Cristiano Ronaldo: The Phenomenon by Daniel Young

Cristiano Ronaldo: The Phenomenon

byDaniel Young

Kobo ebook | January 10, 2014

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It was through his dad's work as an equipment manager at a boy's club that Ronaldo was first introduced to the game of soccer. By the time he was 10 years old, he was already recognized as a phenomenon—a kid who ate, slept and drank the game. "All he wanted to do as a boy was play football," his godfather, Fernao Sousa, recalled for British reporters, adding, "He loved the game so much he'd miss meals or escape out of his bedroom window with a ball when he was supposed to be doing his homework."

 

By his early teens, Ronaldo's talent and legend had grown considerably. After a stint with Nacional da liha da Madeira, he signed with Sporting Portugal in 2001. That same year, at the tender age of 16, Ronaldo turned heads with a mesmerizing performance against Manchester United, wowing even his opponents with his footwork and deft skill. He made such an impression that a number of United players asked their manager to try and sign the young player. It wasn't long before the club paid Ronaldo's team more than £12 million for his services - a record fee for a player of his age.

Success with Manchester United

 

Ronaldo, however, did not disappoint. He showed his promise early on in the 2004 FA Cup final; scoring the team's first three goals and helping them capture the championship. In 2008, a year after signing a five-year, £31 million contract, Ronaldo again justified the high tab when he put together one of the club's finest seasons in history, setting a franchise record for goals scored (42), and earning himself the FIFA World of the Year honor. In all, Ronaldo helped steer Manchester United to three premier league titles.

 

But Ronaldo's time in England was marred by his mother's 2007 struggle with breast cancer as well as his father's death from alcohol-related illness. The latter was especially hard for Ronaldo as the two had been close, and the young athlete had often pushed for his father to enter rehab and address his drinking.

Departure to Real Madrid

 

As lauded as Ronaldo was on the field for Manchester United, his commitment to the club came under constant question. Speculation swirled that he wanted to play elsewhere. So in 2009, when Spanish soccer club Real Madrid agreed to pay United a record $131 million for the chance to sign him, nobody was all that surprised to see Ronaldo leave United.

 

"I know that they are going to demand a lot of me to be successful at the club and I know that I'm going to have much more pressure than at Manchester United because I was there for many years," Ronaldo told reporters. "But it means a new challenge and is going to help me be the best footballer."

 

In addition to his FIFA World Player of the year award, Ronaldo has also won the coveted Ballon d'OR, the Golden Boot, and been named the UEFA Club Forward of the Year, among other honors during the course of his career.

In Ten Years He Has Gone From a Baby Faced Lone Ranger to an Accomplished Killer

 

As he reflected on one of the defining nights of a remarkable career, Cristiano Ronaldo veered away from the popular narrative with the same ease with which he had left Sweden's defenders floundering on Tuesday.

 

'Am I the best in the world?' he asked in Stockholm. 'I am not obsessed with it. I try to do my work.'

 

While the football community squabbles over who should pick up the Ballon d'Or, it transpires that Ronaldo may not even attend the ceremony. If he doesn't, it would be perversely appropriate.

 

Portugal's dashing prince does not need a golden bauble to certify his majesty. He is the best footballer in the world right now. He knows it and the world knows it. What Ronaldo gave us in 29 stunning minutes at the Friends Arena on Tuesday will never be forgotten by those present. Three goals dispatched with chilling certainty.

Afterwards, Sweden coach Erik Hamren seemed dazed. 'In the second half he took us to pieces,' he said. 'It was a shame because in the first half our plan to control him was working.' Hamren - a likeable man - was only half right.

Ronaldo had not scored in the first half but he had been the driving force behind growing Portuguese authority. This is what he does, he dictates matches from their very soul.

 

The statistics for Ronaldo's year are spellbinding. More goals than Liverpool, more than Tottenham, eight hat-tricks. Numbers in sport can be misleading. These ones aren't.

In Portugal he is feted, adored. Last week, one Portuguese journalist reflected on Ronaldo's failure to take a penalty as his country lost a semi-final shoot-out against Spain in Euro 2012 and said: 'He wasn't forgiven because he didn't need to be. He can do no wrong in our eyes. In Portugal he will never be criticised.'

Interestingly, the scales have also tipped that way for the 28-year-old in Spain, his adopted home. Ronaldo never shied away from hard work during his years at Manchester United. A bout of abdominal pain, for example, was attributed to a daily routine of 700 press-ups.

 

'What we are seeing with Cristiano is the result of utter dedication to becoming the very best,' tweeted former United fitness coach Mick Clegg on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo also had to be indulged at Old Trafford. Outside the United fortress, he was admired but not loved, while inside he was subjected to the odd bout of mockery. The story of how he once recommended a face cream to a female MUTV presenter still causes chuckles in the dressing room, and one player removed his wash bag from an overhead airplane locker while quipping to journalists: 'Cristiano's wouldn't fit up here.'

In short, vanity - selfishness even - was a recurring theme of Ronaldo's time in England and perhaps during his early time in Spain. That has gone now.

 

The modern Ronaldo is recognized as a footballer in the purest terms. As he has grown as a player and a person, so he has come to understand the essence of his sport. He is more mature off the field, too, raising his son Cristiano Ronaldo Jnr, although the identity of the mother remains a mystery.

At United, Ronaldo was shepherded through his formative years but at Real he has become a leader, the captain of Carlo Ancelotti's team in spirit if not in name.

'He can't be captain because of the tradition of giving the armband to the longest-serving player,' said a well-placed Spanish source. 'But ignore that. Ronaldo heads this team.'

An example of Ronaldo's security is found in his treatment of Gareth Bale. Some players may have seen Bale's arrival at Real as a threat, an invasion of personal space. Bale's associates, though, tell of how Ronaldo has stepped forward as the Welshman's fiercest ally, helping him to overcome language problems and adapt to cultural change. This is the hallmark of a footballer finally comfortable in his own skin.

 

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Title:Cristiano Ronaldo: The PhenomenonFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:January 10, 2014Publisher:Daniel YoungLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN:9990033072062

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