Cristiano Ronaldo. A strong argument can be made for CR7 being the greatest footballer to ever walk the earth.
No one in the world has achieved the same success that he has across some of the biggest clubs, which are positioned in some of the most competitive leagues in Europe. This is how Ronaldo conquered Europe.
Like many footballers who go on to dazzle, Cristiano started from humble beginnings, in Madiera, an island off the coast of Portugal. As early as the age of 12, he was scouted by Sporting CP, he signed him after three successful trial games. And so, the love affair between Cristiano Ronaldo and Europe’s top footballing leagues began.
At the age of 16, Cristiano already began showing signs of being one to watch. Being the only players ever recorded to play for a for a cub’s U16, U17, U18, Senior B and First team in a single season, word of Portuguese whizz kid began stirring, and it didn’t take long for some of world football’s elites to begin circling him like hungry sharks.
His representatives suggested him to the likes of Liverpool and Barcelona, and then Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger also showed interest in signing the budding Ronaldo. In the end, however, it was Sir Alex Ferguson of Manchester United who showed the most desire to secure the signing of the future world footballing star. This is where Ronaldo would go on to make his mark on world football.
It is rumoured that Ronaldo was eager to don the number 28 shirt, but Sir Alex had other plans, as the mesmerising teenager showed the prowess attached to the famous number 7 shirt, and it didn’t take much convincing for Cristiano to go ahead and accept the responsibly that came with a shirt of that magnitude.
It only took Ronaldo seconds to receive a standing ovation from United fans, as he graced the pitch as a sub in a 4 – 0 win over Bolton Wanderers. United legend George Best dubbed Ronaldo’s inaugural performance as the best debut he had ever seen. Big words, from one of the best to don a United shirt.
For 6 years, Ronaldo went on to terrorise the Premier League, leaving all he faced trembling in fear. During his reign, betting establishments from around the world, to local English bookies on the ground, to South African bookies on the internet, and everywhere in between, gave United extremely short odds to win their games in each of the competitions they found themselves in.
There was only ever going to be one club to lure the now legendary Ronaldo from Manchester, and in 2009, that very club came knocking. Real Madrid break all transfer fee records at the time to bring Ronaldo to the Bernabeu, and here again, Ronaldo etched his name into legend as he spent 9 years delivering goals, assists and trophies to Real Madrid’s cabinet. He completed his tenure with Madrid as the club’s leading goalscorer.
In 2018, he set his sites for Italy, where again he proved that no league was a match for him. Italy is known for producing some of the best defenders in the world, none were a match for Ronaldo’s immense ability. His stint in Italy lasted just short of three years, where he netted 81 times in 98 league games.
Ronaldo’s time in Italy was marked with a close, as he returned to United in the Summer of 2021. Regardless of what pundits may say, it is quite clear that Ronaldo has conquered three of Europe’s most hotly contested leagues, proving that he has indeed clocked European football.