When Cristiano Ronaldo said in an interview in March that he was the greatest footballer ever – many chuckled and guffawed.
While many will dispute his claim, no one can dispute what he has brought into the game. For a player at 33 to continue to deliver goals as he consistently does is something; to conceive and execute the second goal against Juventus required a bit of genius.
In appreciation, almost all at the Allianz Stadium in Turin rose to the goal and the player that scored it, for a player whose type we may not witness for many years to come.
The UEFA website reports on that goal, “After Cristiano Ronaldo smashed the ball from high out of the rainy sky into the left-hand corner of Gianluigi Buffon’s net for his second goal against Juventus, there was a long second of silence in Turin while the Real Madrid man wheeled away to celebrate, and then a spontaneous round of applause as the home fans gave the Real Madrid striker due respect. What a finish.”
A player termed arrogant by some and eulogised by many others said in December, “You know, I respect everyone’s preferences. But I don’t see anyone better than me. I always thought that” Ronaldo told France Football when he won his fifth Ballon d’Or.
In March, he told the Daily Mail, “I always believe and say that I am the best, whatever they say, and then I show it in the field. We are in the fight year after year.”
It has happened before when Ronaldinho silenced the Santiago Bernabeu crowd on November 19, 2005, playing for Barcelona and all rose to applaud the Brazilian genius. “It’s special. Only a few players have had this joy of being acclaimed by the fans of your arch rivals in a derby,” Ronaldinho said afterwards.
For Ronaldo, “it was an unbelievable moment,” the Portuguese said on UEFA’s official website. “I have to say thank you a lot – grazie – to all the Juventus supporters. What they did for me was amazing. I’m so happy – thank you. It had never happened to me in my career so far.”
With his 23rd goal in 2018 and 14th in nine UCL matches, there is every chance that Ronaldo could lead Real Madrid to a third consecutive Champions League title. “This is our competition,” he continued.
“We love to play in the Champions League, I love to play in the Champions League. It was a great result, we have the second leg at home, we know that Juve are a great team so we have to be careful but we are happy, the team is very happy.”
His supporters are the happier because for one day at least, Ronaldo gets the football world’s acclamation while the annoying comparisons with Lionel Messi pale into the background.
Ronaldo also told the Daily Mail in February, “I’ll always say I’m the best and I’ll prove it.” He is giving us cogent proof for his declarations. We should just enjoy!