Check it out here as five of arguably the greatest centre-backs of the last decade reflect on what an incredible forward Cristiano Ronaldo is.
Perhaps the deadliest goalscorer in history, Cristiano Ronaldo has made light work of Europe’s strongest defences across his career. He is only one of seven players to reach the 700-goal mark; having scored 743 goals for club and country.
Even at the age of 35, Ronaldo still strikes fear into defences. His instincts in the final third remain as sharp as ever, with the Portuguese phenomenon scoring 21 goals in 22 Serie A games this season.
The challenge now will be to see whether the five-time Ballon d’Or winner can break Josef Bican’s world record of 805 goals. Considering there is a 62-goal deficit to overcome, it won’t be easy. But if there’s anything this guy loves more than scoring goals, it’s a decent challenge.
And as you can probably imagine, there will be a lot of relieved defenders in Europe once Ronaldo finally hangs up his boots.
So, without further ado, we present what arguably the five best centre-backs of the last decade think of CR7.
Boateng has been a key figure in the Bayern Munich defence since 2011, helping the Bavarians win seven consecutive Bundesliga titles and the Champions League itself in 2013.
The German centre-back has faced Cristiano Ronaldo nine times in his career, winning four games and losing the other five. CR7 hammered home nine goals in those games, including a hat-trick in a Champions League quarter-final clash in 2016/17.
And speaking before another UCL meeting in the semi-finals in 2017/18, Boateng branded Ronaldo a ‘machine’.
“We can only stop Cristiano Ronaldo as a team,” Boateng told Kicker.
“In front of goal, he’s like a machine. You can’t shut him out completely, he always gets his chances in a game because of the lines he runs and his excellent timing.”
Thiago Silva has undisputedly been one of the best centre-backs of the last decade following glory-laden spells at AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain.
The PSG captain has also only conceded one goal to Cristiano Ronaldo in their five meetings. Although he’s only been on the winning side once, which came in a 6-2 friendly win for Brazil over Portugal in 2008.
Speaking before a Champions League group stage clash between PSG and Real Madrid in October 2015, however, Silva warned his teammates over Ronaldo’s deadly goal threat.
“It’s difficult to mark Ronaldo,” said the centre-back via FourFourTwo.
“I think he has a lot of qualities. He has all the abilities a striker can possess.
“He’s very good with the head, the right foot, the left foot. His strike is the same whatever the feet. We need to be focused in order to mark that guy.”
The pair had nine glory-laden years together at Real Madrid that saw them claim an incredible haul of 15 major pieces of silverware before Ronaldo left for Juventus in the summer of 2018.
Ramos has also faced Ronaldo as an opponent four times on international duty for Spain. One of those clashes was in the 2018 World Cup, where the Portuguese scored a brilliant hat-trick in Russia.
“Our number seven is a striker like we have never seen before,” Ramos told Telefoot via FourFourTwo.
“He is already a legend and will be recognised as one of the best players in the history of football.”
The World Cup winner is one of the most accomplished centre-backs in football, having won everything but a Champions League title.
And while Hummels has spent his entire career in Germany, he’s faced Cristiano Ronaldo 10 times as an opponent. Eight of them were at club level in the Champions League. While the other two came in Euro 2012 and the 2014 World Cup.
Therefore, Hummels has seen Ronaldo up close countless times in arguably all football’s biggest competitions.
“In recent years Ronaldo has changed his playing style,” the defender told Bild in 2018.
“He is not as dominant as he was in earlier days, but rather utterly focused on finishing and goals.
“In this regard, he is the best striker in the world because he can score in any way, any second of the game.”
Saving perhaps the best one for last is Gerard Pique’s opinion.
The Catalan is one of only 12 players to play alongside both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in his career, having partnered the latter at Manchester United from 2004 to 2008.
Pique and Ronaldo played together on the pitch 15 times at Old Trafford before the centre-back returned to Barcelona. They eventually became rivals when CR7 joined Real Madrid.
Nonetheless, Pique respects Ronaldo and praised his old teammate for fighting back to win the Ballon d’Or after Messi won it four times in a row.
“Cristiano is a perfect machine, a hard worker who always wants to improve,” Pique told Voetbal.
“He demands a lot from himself, something that he showed at United, but the most surprising thing is that Lionel Messi won four Ballon d’Ors in a row and he still kept on going and had the strength to beat him.”