The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has played against some of the finest forwards of the game, but who all stand out in the crowd?
The 2000s witnessed some of the most complete and deadliest attackers in football. Much of it is down to the fact that football became more fast-paced, result-oriented, and in turn goal-oriented, and explosive in the 21st century.
Since forwards have the ability to change the game, they are most often than not the center of attention. A quick look at at the list of the recent Ballon d’Or winners will prove the validity of the statement.
The last decade saw Cristiano Ronaldo (and a certain Argentine) push the boundaries of football and take the game to a height that wasn’t even considered possible before them.
Ronaldo has had various great strike partners over the years – Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, and Nani at Manchester United. Karim Benzema, Gonzalo Higuain, and Gareth Bale at Real Madrid. And now Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata at Juventus.
However, here we will not talk about those players. Instead, we will talk about the players – some of the best forwards, to be accurate – Ronaldo has not played with.
But let us establish an important ground rule first. We have considered only those players who have shared the pitch with the prolific Portuguese at least once.
#5 Sergio Aguero
Sergio Aguero might not be making any headlines this season but his incredible goal-scoring records make him one of the best forwards of this era.
Aguero is Manchester City’s all-time top goalscorer, Premier League’s fourth-best goalscorer, the leading foreign goalscorer in the English top-flight, and has scored most hat-tricks in the Premier League.
One of the striker’s most memorable moments is when he netted a late winner against QPR to win the Premier League title for Manchester City in the final matchday of the 2011-12 season.
#4 Luis Suarez
Not the most cherished player in the world but certainly one of the most lethal finishers. Luis Suarez rose to prominence with Liverpool and has not looked back since then.
The Uruguayan marksman became FC Barcelona’s third all-time top scorer with 198 goals and won 13 trophies, including a treble, during his six-year stint at the club.
Suarez is currently at Atletico Madrid, proving each week that Barcelona were utterly wrong in thinking that he was too old to perform at the top level.
#3 Zlatan Ibrahimovic
The self-proclaimed ‘lion amongst men’. As arrogant as that sounds, Ibrahimovic has the numbers, awards, trophies, and special moments to back it up.
The Sweden international boasts one of the most distinguished CVs in world football. He has won a total of 33 titles, scored over 550 goals, and has played for nine different teams in seven different leagues.
Currently at Milan, 39-year-old Ibrahimovic is hardly showing any signs of slowing down.
#2 Robert Lewandowski
Robert Lewandowski is undoubtedly the best striker in the world at the moment and arguably even the best player.
The Pole has gone on an upwards trajectory ever since his breakthrough with Borussia Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp.
The 2020 Best FIFA Men’s Player has notched up an incredible 278 goals in 320 appearances for Bayern Munich and is Bundesliga’s all-time leading foreign goal scorer.
He is also the all-time top scorer for Poland and has been named the Polish Player of the Year for a record nine times.
#1 Lionel Messi
What can be said about Lionel Messi here that hasn’t already been said!
Lionel Messi and Ronaldo have done too much for football, and probably the only things that the fans want from them now is to play at least once on the same team before retiring.