Cristiano Ronaldo : The Juventus Chapter

Earvin Johnson

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Ronaldo in his younger years was very hard to stop. He gave most defenders a torrid time because his dribbling style was very unpredictable. The constant twists and turns he made, and sudden acceleration at unusual angles enabled him to skip past defenders with ease. Most defenders have to resort to blatant fouling (e.g. pulling him down, missing the ball and ended up going for his legs) to stop him. You made Ronaldo sound as if he was a speed merchant like Bale. Ronaldo was never a pure sprinter in the mould of Bale. He is fast, but speed was never his greatest strength, You rarely see him destroy defenders with raw pace like Bale did to Maicon and Bartra vs Inter and Barca respectively. Ronaldo's dribbling revolves around his unpredictability. It's easy to see who actually watched Ronaldo, and who did not.

You pointed out players who ally both GOAT level playmaking and GOAT level scoring. Yet listed Zidane and Iniesta as examples of genius. With all due respect, Zidane and Iniesta both had very poor end product despite the position they frequently take up as the most advanced midfielder in their teams. Make no mistake, they were amazing players in their prime. But how exactly do they fit in your definition of GOAT level scoring? Even the likes of Maradona could fulfil only the criteria of GOAT level playmaking. He was never a prolific goal scorer. Do you regard Maradona as a genius then? While somebody like Pogba is blessed with great finesse/artistry and impressive physical attributes. However there is a good reason why he is rarely mention as the best midfielder in the world, never mind the best player. It is one thing to possess the natural talent and ability. But to actually produce it on multiple occasions to lead your team to success requires a very different kind of mentality altogether. And Ronaldo is GOAT in this regard.
First i would like to clarify something. Some people seem to be unable to catch nuance in the criticism. Saying that Player A is not the best in one field does not imply that he is bad at it. Someone can be very good at something but still fall short to the very best in that domain. Saying that Ronaldo does not have the close control of Iniesta or Zidane is not a knock against him ! Those guys are just literally GOAT Tier in that category and he falls short from them. He is still a very good dribbler with one of the nicest close control for players of his height.
To clear all misconceptions i think very highly of him. I consider that he is comfortably one of the 10 greatest player to have evr graced the beautiful game. I cannot rank him or any other player (bar the top3) in said top 10 because i believe that football is a sport where we lack objective elements to judge past players, unlike a sport like Basketball which provides tons of Footage and Data. And as we lack advanced Data of footballers pre 2010 it is basically impossible to confidently rank said players.

Anyway, back to our subject. I think a lot of the points brought up in your post do not stand the test of scrutiny. I shall address them one by one.

"Ronaldo in his younger years was very hard to stop. He gave most defenders a torrid time because his dribbling style was very unpredictable. The constant twists and turns he made, and sudden acceleration at unusual angles enabled him to skip past defenders with ease. Most defenders have to resort to blatant fouling (e.g. pulling him down, missing the ball and ended up going for his legs) to stop him"

It is true that in his younger days (2003-2006) Ronaldo attempted way more dribbles, however if you were around the cafe at that time, you would know that most of Man Utd fans considered him a "pony trick" because there was no end product to a lot of those dribbles. At that time the consensus around the cafe was that Rooney was the best young player of Man United. It is until the 2006/2007 that Ronaldo took it to the next level and he did so by purging his game from a lot of his dribbling and focused more on scoring which resulted in the player that we know today.
Now i already feel like what i just said will get misinterpreted. Even after changing his game, Ronaldo was a good dribbler, however thinking that he once was a player who dominated the game with his dribbling is a misconception.

"You pointed out players who ally both GOAT level playmaking and GOAT level scoring. Yet listed Zidane and Iniesta as examples of genius."

You misunderstood what i was saying those are 2 different things. Iniesta and Zidane do not fit the category of GOAT playmakers and GOAT goalscorer, actually there are only 3 players in History that check both boxes and they seem to come off once every 30 years.
I did not say that Iniesta and Zidane were genius (even though well they arguably are) i said that they fit the definition we as football fans give to that word.
Genius is not meant as a synonym to GOAT goalscorers/playmakers, it is an adjective to describe players who have an amazing control of the ball.

"With all due respect, Zidane and Iniesta both had very poor end product despite the position they frequently take up as the most advanced midfielder in their teams."

I think this the statement i disagree with the most. Well firstly Iniesta never played as the most advanced midfielder in his team, Barca always played a 4-3-3 and he was one of the two CM's. The role of a midfielder is not to score goals or to bang up a lot of assists. The role of a midfielder is to link up the defense to the attack. So be able to bring the ball to the final third either by carrying or by passing it. And alongside Xavi they were the best in the world in doing so. The fact that he played so far away from the goal meant that a lot of his dribbles and passes that collapsed defenses and lead to shots/goals were not counted as assists. Very often in Football the pass that makes the difference is not the assist, but the pass that precedes it. This is why a stat like SCA (Shot creating actions) is much better than Assists to Assess the creative value of a player.

During the 2012-2013 season, Iniesta was played on the wing for 8 games, he was higher up the field so his creation showed more on basic stats like goals and assists. During that stretch he banged up a goal and 9 Assists ( more than an assist per game !).

As for Zidane it is true that he was playing higher than Iniesta, i was too young to fully understand the game when he was in his prime, but it wouldn't surprise me if reasons that explain his unimpressive stat line are similar to Iniesta's. Maybe someone who was avidly following Juve and Real at that time might provide more insight on this.


"But how exactly do they fit in your definition of GOAT level scoring?"

Another misunderstanding, i never said that they were GOAT goalscorers.

"Even the likes of Maradona could fulfil only the criteria of GOAT level playmaking. He was never a prolific goal scorer. Do you regard Maradona as a genius then?"

Well i think by this point we understood that there was a misunderstanding around the meaning of the term "Genius" so i won't come back on it.
Though i will say that people severely underestimate Maradona's goalscoring abilities. The reason is that people look at the raw numbers while ignoring the context. The truth is Maradona played his prime in the most defensive league of Football History. Therefore his numbers look underwhelming. in the 1987 season in which Napoli won the league there were less than 2 goals scored per game. Despite this he managed to end up as the league's top goal scorer in 1989 despite playing very deep as a playmaker. So while it's true that he may fall a bit short from the true GOAT goalscorers he is definitely severely underrated on that regard.

"It is one thing to possess the natural talent and ability. But to actually produce it on multiple occasions to lead your team to success requires a very different kind of mentality altogether."

The players that i mentioned fit this criteria too, just a reminder.

"And Ronaldo is GOAT in this regard."

No disagreements here.
 
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RedRonaldo

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It’s not about ‘looking stylish while not scoring’. It’s about dominating games with all round performances. Passing, creating chances, playmaking, string-pulling, dribbling, changing the tempo, moving all around the pitch, or all around half of it. Go and watch Pele’s best games (of those available), or Maradona’s, or Messi’s.

I think it’s fair to say that CR did this less and less as his career progressed. Even the game that the other fella referenced was from 9 years ago

Just to be clear, it’s obvious that you can do all the above whilst scoring as well, but it’s notable to me that CR supporters tend to make reference only to goals and scoring records when bigging him up. It’s understandable because he has so many, but what about mastery of all the other aspects of attacking football? Is he better than Maradona because he scored more goals? Not in my view.
Why not go watch Pele and Maradona in their 30s? Why keep comparing 31-36 year old Ronaldo with peak Pele and Maradona? Ronaldo back in his physical peak (age 23-29) used to dominating games with his all round performance. His performance level in terms of average rating over season during those years are constantly very high at around 8.2-8.5, which is considered high even in Messi standard.

Below are his performance and assists stats during his peak years apart from goals, they are still top top class, and these alone are worthy of Ballon D’or level even without the goals.

09-10: avg rating 8.54 motm 17, 10 assists
10-11: avg rating 8.35 motm 15, 17 assists
11-12: avg rating 8.28 motm 14, 18 assists
12-13: avg rating 8.15 motm 15, 14 assists
13-14: avg rating 8.27 motm 14, 15 assists
14-15: avg rating 8.48 motm 19, 21 assists

It’s no secret that since he hit past his 30, his performance level start to drop considerably, but so were the likes of Pele and Maradona. At least he still scoring a lot of goals, so he is still impacting games far more than other past GOAT at around same age.

For sake of comparison, these are average rating of some of other top players today (this season), to give you an idea how good was Ronaldo back in his days.

Mbappe 7.68
Haaland 7.63
Bruno 7.49
KDB 7.65
 
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Bebestation

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I appreciate youre elaborate write-up, though i would disagree with some points you brought up.

First i'd like to adress the first point. Why do some players succeed in some environements and fail in other ? And more importantly what can this tell us about the quality of said players ?

I believe that there is a wide variety of reasons that make a player succeed or not when they change environement, some get injury problems, some can't adapt to their new lives and there are a lot of great players who couldn't adapt to a new team or new league. Eden Hazard is the most recent exemple as he was dominating for Chelsea but is rather lackluster for Real Madrid. Though if i want to compare players like Hazard and Sané i dont know how much of an argument the fact that Sané was able to dominate in different teams and in different systems weigh in when we want to assess who is the better football player. Another exemple is Maradona, whose stint in Barcelona had nothing impressive, he was often injured and they failed to win any major trophies, and yet no one uses it to discredit him as a player. So based on this i do not think that we can draw conclusions on the quality of a player simply based on the fact that he dominated in different teams.

What i agree with is that changing teams is a risk for the majority of players. Take the exemple of Alexis Sanchez, he was dominant in Udinese and with Arsenal, Inconsistent with Barcelona and lackluster with United. I haven't watched much of him in united so i cannot talk in length on the reasons he failed to adapt but i can provide some insight on hif failure at barcelona. The thing is at that time, the team used to play with Messi on the false 9 position, so it was asked to wingers to stay as close as possible to the touchline in order to stretch the defenses so Leo could have more space to work with centrally. And this limited his capacity to make a significant impact because it didnt suit his game, but when he went to Arsenal, gained more freedom and confidence he was able to dominate.

And through the case of Alexis we can understand why a lot of players seem to underperform or on the contrary take their game to the next level when they change teams. Because Football is a sport where system is so important and some players quality just dont fit in some systems, other times like with the likes of Maradona and Hazard it is due to factors that are exogenous to their intrinsical qualities as players such as injuries.

Though, i would say that when a player is one of the very best at his craft (GOAT-ish level), they do not face the same problematic as others when it come to adapt to a different system for 2 reasons :
- Very often they are so good that even when the system doesn't suit them you can clearly see they are one of the bests.
- When teams get in posession of such players they often try to do anything to build their system around them, because they know that it is a winning move. So the player ends up dominating no matter what.

So in conclusion i would say that dominating in different teams and constantly getting the system being built around the qualities of a single player is a great testimony of the quality of said players. However it is not solid enough to be a criteria of player comparison, especially when you want to compare two GOAT-ish players.

P-S : when i said "touch" i meant more ability to be good with the ball at your feet, not just the first touch aspect. I consider it to be football's most important skill because it never goes away (as long as you are in a good physical condition), and can help you pull amazing dribbles/passes no matter the system you are playing in, which is very valuable as it means that even if the system isn't built around your strength, you will still be able to contribute into making your team better.
Again, Maradona failed at Barcelona but did it at Argentina and Napoli.

Then you look at Alexis Sanchez who had the chance to impress at Spain, Italy and England at multiple clubs - does anyone regard him as the best ever just because of his great stint at Arsenal?

Compare him to Luis Suarez? The guy did well at Liverpool, Barcelona and Athletico Madrid and at least won a copa America with Uruguay.

Do you know who hasn’t even won a copa America with their team:eek:

Anyway, let’s continue.. Hazard is a great example as you bought up. Some viewed him as high as a top 5 or maybe in top 10 world player during his time at Chelsea. He definitely isn’t in that top 5 anymore and probably not even in that top 10.

one move to a league and his ability to play in a different league or a different team or a different atmosphere Greta brought up.

Another is Neymar - the player playing for the paris team but even if he still highly rated; it isn’t as high as his time when playing for Barcelona.

That is why C Ronaldo is my GOAT. There is a reason he toned down that skill he had at the start of his career and became this no nonsense success chasing hero that you could see from the type of football he played- it almost became beautifully simple.

He took that ability and managed to adapt to any environment, any league he has played. Won things being a contributing useful player for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Portugal and even Sporting Lisbon - many think this won’t stop and has a chance playing for a French or German team.

Absolutely dominates the world - literally and I haven’t even bought up records or anything.

It makes me appreciate the mentality of a footballer more than just appreciating the foot, as I get to do as I watch every game I decide to.
 

Hashira

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First i would like to clarify something. Some people seem to be unable to catch nuance in the criticism. Saying that Player A is not the best in one field does not imply that he is bad at it. Someone can be very good at something but still fall short to the very best in that domain. Saying that Ronaldo does not have the close control of Iniesta or Zidane is not a knock against him ! Those guys are just literally GOAT Tier in that category and he falls short from them. He is still a very good dribbler with one of the nicest close control for players of his height.
To clear all misconceptions i think very highly of him. I consider that he is comfortably one of the 10 greatest player to have evr graced the beautiful game. I cannot rank him or any other player (bar the top3) in said top 10 because i believe that football is a sport where we lack objective elements to judge past players, unlike a sport like Basketball which provides tons of Footage and Data. And as we lack advanced Data of footballers pre 2010 it is basically impossible to confidently rank said players.

Anyway, back to our subject. I think a lot of the points brought up in your post do not stand the test of scrutiny. I shall address them one by one.

"Ronaldo in his younger years was very hard to stop. He gave most defenders a torrid time because his dribbling style was very unpredictable. The constant twists and turns he made, and sudden acceleration at unusual angles enabled him to skip past defenders with ease. Most defenders have to resort to blatant fouling (e.g. pulling him down, missing the ball and ended up going for his legs) to stop him"

It is true that in his younger days (2003-2006) Ronaldo attempted way more dribbles, however if you were around the cafe at that time, you would know that most of Man Utd fans considered him a "pony trick" because there was no end product to a lot of those dribbles. At that time the consensus around the cafe was that Rooney was the best young player of Man United. It is until the 2006/2007 that Ronaldo took it to the next level and he did so by purging his game from a lot of his dribbling and focused more on scoring which resulted in the player that we know today.
Now i already feel like what i just said will get misinterpreted. Even after changing his game, Ronaldo was a good dribbler, however thinking that he once was a player who dominated the game with his dribbling is a misconception.
Incorrect.

2006/07 was arguably Ronaldo's most brilliant season with regards to dribbling. He came back from the '06 World Cup with significantly more muscle. Physically he changed from a boy to a man. From 2005 to 2006 he gradually transformed from a lanky waif to a bodybuilder physique, with most of them lean muscle mass. His decision-making also matured greatly during this period of time. He was already fast beforehand, but lack the strength and judgement of when is the right time to apply certain skills. Once he improve on those aspects, he became a truly devastating dribbler. The stepovers were less frequent, and was replaced with a remarkable physicality and directness. He became absolutely rapid and powerful. This was what Reading's captain Graeme Murty said about Ronaldo in 2006/07.

"You've got no chance because he can go both ways, flick it over your head, nutmeg you and just start laughing," captain Murty said.

"You can't get too close, because he's so rapid. All I could feel was the wind as he rushed past. And he's a brute, as well. He's big and strong, and tackling him is like running into a brick wall."
This was evident when Ronaldo broke the record of most dribbles completed in a Champions League in 2006/07 when he completed 20 successful dribbles against Benfica. A record that still stands today.

1. Ronaldo vs Benfica (2006/07) - 20
2. Messi vs United (2007/08) - 16
3. Neymar Jr. vs Atalanta (2019/20) - 16

He definitely started to place more of an emphasis on scoring because his shooting and heading technique improved remarkably. However to say that he purged dribbling out of his game is utter nonsense because it couldn't be any further from the truth. Most United fans regard 2006/07 as Ronaldo's most entertaining season because he combined goal scoring with a genuine ability to marvel.

"You pointed out players who ally both GOAT level playmaking and GOAT level scoring. Yet listed Zidane and Iniesta as examples of genius."

You misunderstood what i was saying those are 2 different things. Iniesta and Zidane do not fit the category of GOAT playmakers and GOAT goalscorer, actually there are only 3 players in History that check both boxes and they seem to come off once every 30 years.
I did not say that Iniesta and Zidane were genius (even though well they arguably are) i said that they fit the definition we as football fans give to that word.
Genius is not meant as a synonym to GOAT goalscorers/playmakers, it is an adjective to describe players who have an amazing control of the ball.

"With all due respect, Zidane and Iniesta both had very poor end product despite the position they frequently take up as the most advanced midfielder in their teams."

I think this the statement i disagree with the most. Well firstly Iniesta never played as the most advanced midfielder in his team, Barca always played a 4-3-3 and he was one of the two CM's. The role of a midfielder is not to score goals or to bang up a lot of assists. The role of a midfielder is to link up the defense to the attack. So be able to bring the ball to the final third either by carrying or by passing it. And alongside Xavi they were the best in the world in doing so. The fact that he played so far away from the goal meant that a lot of his dribbles and passes that collapsed defenses and lead to shots/goals were not counted as assists. Very often in Football the pass that makes the difference is not the assist, but the pass that precedes it. This is why a stat like SCA (Shot creating actions) is much better than Assists to Assess the creative value of a player.

During the 2012-2013 season, Iniesta was played on the wing for 8 games, he was higher up the field so his creation showed more on basic stats like goals and assists. During that stretch he banged up a goal and 9 Assists ( more than an assist per game !).

As for Zidane it is true that he was playing higher than Iniesta, i was too young to fully understand the game when he was in his prime, but it wouldn't surprise me if reasons that explain his unimpressive stat line are similar to Iniesta's. Maybe someone who was avidly following Juve and Real at that time might provide more insight on this.


"But how exactly do they fit in your definition of GOAT level scoring?"

Another misunderstanding, i never said that they were GOAT goalscorers.

"Even the likes of Maradona could fulfil only the criteria of GOAT level playmaking. He was never a prolific goal scorer. Do you regard Maradona as a genius then?"

Well i think by this point we understood that there was a misunderstanding around the meaning of the term "Genius" so i won't come back on it.
Though i will say that people severely underestimate Maradona's goalscoring abilities. The reason is that people look at the raw numbers while ignoring the context. The truth is Maradona played his prime in the most defensive league of Football History. Therefore his numbers look underwhelming. in the 1987 season in which Napoli won the league there were less than 2 goals scored per game. Despite this he managed to end up as the league's top goal scorer in 1989 despite playing very deep as a playmaker. So while it's true that he may fall a bit short from the true GOAT goalscorers he is definitely severely underrated on that regard.

"It is one thing to possess the natural talent and ability. But to actually produce it on multiple occasions to lead your team to success requires a very different kind of mentality altogether."

The players that i mentioned fit this criteria too, just a reminder.

"And Ronaldo is GOAT in this regard."

No disagreements here.
Thank you for the clarification. It seems that I misunderstood your post. I definitely agree that Zidane and Iniesta possess a fantastic touch, and is more consistent than Ronaldo in this aspect. Ronaldo can have an odd heavy or loose touch when he is running at full speed with the ball. Does that qualify the both of them as GOAT though. Certainly not IMO. I also think Ronaldo is an overall greater threat in terms of carrying the ball forward and creating more shot/opportunities. He used to terrorise defence with his constant running and quick feet. He could hug the touchline as a traditional winger who beat defenders for fun before crossing it in and normally nabbing an assist. He could cut in and go on a penetrative run to bamboozle defenders before either pulling the trigger himself or laying it to a team mate who is in a likelier position to score. You can always refer to his MOTM performances against Portsmouth, Chelsea and Everton as he won back-to-back Premier League POTM for November and December 2006 as examples.
 

Earvin Johnson

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Again, Maradona failed at Barcelona but did it at Argentina and Napoli.

Then you look at Alexis Sanchez who had the chance to impress at Spain, Italy and England at multiple clubs - does anyone regard him as the best ever just because of his great stint at Arsenal?

Compare him to Luis Suarez? The guy did well at Liverpool, Barcelona and Athletico Madrid and at least won a copa America with Uruguay.

Do you know who hasn’t even won a copa America with their team:eek:

Anyway, let’s continue.. Hazard is a great example as you bought up. Some viewed him as high as a top 5 or maybe in top 10 world player during his time at Chelsea. He definitely isn’t in that top 5 anymore and probably not even in that top 10.

one move to a league and his ability to play in a different league or a different team or a different atmosphere Greta brought up.

Another is Neymar - the player playing for the paris team but even if he still highly rated; it isn’t as high as his time when playing for Barcelona.

That is why C Ronaldo is my GOAT. There is a reason he toned down that skill he had at the start of his career and became this no nonsense success chasing hero that you could see from the type of football he played- it almost became beautifully simple.

He took that ability and managed to adapt to any environment, any league he has played. Won things being a contributing useful player for Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus, Portugal and even Sporting Lisbon - many think this won’t stop and has a chance playing for a French or German team.

Absolutely dominates the world - literally and I haven’t even bought up records or anything.

It makes me appreciate the mentality of a footballer more than just appreciating the foot, as I get to do as I watch every game I decide to.
I don't understand, have you even read my post ? I brought up a lot of points and you seem to conveniently ignore them. I explained to you why some players seem to thrive and others fail, but you just went on to list a bunch of players who changed teams. As i said :

" So in conclusion i would say that dominating in different teams and constantly getting the system being built around the qualities of a single player is a great testimony of the quality of said players. However it is not solid enough to be a criteria of player comparison, especially when you want to compare two GOAT-ish players. "

This is the furthest you can reach with your argument, you cannot draw any more conclusions without it becoming fallacious. And the way you are using it seems like a nitpicked criteria to raise Ronaldo to GOAT status.
If you want me to convince me of the strength of your argument, you'd need to address the points i raised in my post, because for now it appears illogical to decide who is the better player based on such a weak argument.
 

Earvin Johnson

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Incorrect.

2006/07 was arguably Ronaldo's most brilliant season with regards to dribbling. He came back from the '06 World Cup with significantly more muscle. Physically he changed from a boy to a man. From 2005 to 2006 he gradually transformed from a lanky waif to a bodybuilder physique, with most of them lean muscle mass. His decision-making also matured greatly during this period of time. He was already fast beforehand, but lack the strength and judgement of when is the right time to apply certain skills. Once he improve on those aspects, he became a truly devastating dribbler. The stepovers were less frequent, and was replaced with a remarkable physicality and directness. He became absolutely rapid and powerful. This was what Reading's captain Graeme Murty said about Ronaldo in 2006/07.



This was evident when Ronaldo broke the record of most dribbles completed in a Champions League in 2006/07 when he completed 20 successful dribbles against Benfica. A record that still stands today.

1. Ronaldo vs Benfica (2006/07) - 20
2. Messi vs United (2007/08) - 16
3. Neymar Jr. vs Atalanta (2019/20) - 16

He definitely started to place more of an emphasis on scoring because his shooting and heading technique improved remarkably. However to say that he purged dribbling out of his game is utter nonsense because it couldn't be any further from the truth. Most United fans regard 2006/07 as Ronaldo's most entertaining season because he combined goal scoring with a genuine ability to marvel.
Yes you are right by 2007 he still was a good dribbler, his cuts were still sharp enough to blow by defenders.

However the stats you are presenting are innacurate. I don't blame you because a lot of medias are sharing this myth that Ronaldo completed 20 dribbles against Benefica, but it never happened. When i was trying to look for a source it seems like the one who made the original claim was a fan account on twitter saying that according to Opta, he completed 20 dribbles against Benefica. The truth is that Opta itself never released such statement. On the contrary, according to them, the players that completed the most dribbles in a UCL game since 2005/06 were Messi with 16 against Man Utd, followed by Neymar and Hazard both with 15. Neymar would later equalize Messi's record against Atalanta. Unforutnately i can't share the link of the tweet due to my newbie status but you can verify the information yourself.

If you want more informations on Ronaldo's dribbling ability during his time at Manchester United, i found some Data in an Opta AMA on Reddit, you can find it if you google it. According to them in 196 league games, Ronaldo registered 506, which is about 2.6 dribbles completed per game. To put it into perspective, this would land him in the top 20 of the best dribblers of Europe's top 5 league this year.
Which corroborates what i was saying, he was great a good dribbler in his prime, but he wasn't the best or close to it.


Thank you for the clarification. It seems that I misunderstood your post. I definitely agree that Zidane and Iniesta possess a fantastic touch, and is more consistent than Ronaldo in this aspect. Ronaldo can have an odd heavy or loose touch when he is running at full speed with the ball. Does that qualify the both of them as GOAT though. Certainly not IMO.
Again i said Zidane and Iniesta are Goat Tier in ball control not as players as they can only try to claim the title of GOAT playmaker, while the GOATs of Football are both GOAT playmakers and GOAT scorers.

I also think Ronaldo is an overall greater threat in terms of carrying the ball forward and creating more shot/opportunities. He used to terrorise defence with his constant running and quick feet. He could hug the touchline as a traditional winger who beat defenders for fun before crossing it in and normally nabbing an assist. He could cut in and go on a penetrative run to bamboozle defenders before either pulling the trigger himself or laying it to a team mate who is in a likelier position to score. You can always refer to his MOTM performances against Portsmouth, Chelsea and Everton as he won back-to-back Premier League POTM for November and December 2006 as examples.
Sorry but what ?
I understand that you want to praise Ronaldo and i can agree with you that he was a good playmaker in his prime, but saying that he was a greater threat with the ball at his feet than Andrès Fecking Iniesta is just plainly wrong and discredits the point you would want to make. The latter being the better ball handler, the better dribbler, faster with the ball at his feet and a much much superior passer.
 

Bebestation

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I don't understand, have you even read my post ? I brought up a lot of points and you seem to conveniently ignore them. I explained to you why some players seem to thrive and others fail, but you just went on to list a bunch of players who changed teams. As i said :

" So in conclusion i would say that dominating in different teams and constantly getting the system being built around the qualities of a single player is a great testimony of the quality of said players. However it is not solid enough to be a criteria of player comparison, especially when you want to compare two GOAT-ish players. "

This is the furthest you can reach with your argument, you cannot draw any more conclusions without it becoming fallacious. And the way you are using it seems like a nitpicked criteria to raise Ronaldo to GOAT status.
If you want me to convince me of the strength of your argument, you'd need to address the points i raised in my post, because for now it appears illogical to decide who is the better player based on such a weak argument.
but again I don’t see why your opinion is right and mine is wrong?

Even if it’s just a player not adapting to his environment - which may not seem so football like to you; that’s what makes C Ronaldo special to me. He just adapts. His style of football is so simple rather than having to attempt to dribble in a league that does not allow you to do it - you will see him jump 10 feet in the sky to do a nice header in the Serie A or the PL.

Pure admiration of a players mentality than just looking and kissing his technical feet.

I mean you bought up Maradona failing at Barcelona. The guy had wonderful technique but he had also won things with different clubs - boca juniors, copa del ray at Barcelona even when injured, serie A and Uefa cup for Napoli and World Cup for Argentina.

would he be this special player if all he ever did it for was Napoli, spending all his life there - having the team built to his style, winning everything he can on repeat whilst the Napoli midfielder players were good but once they start retiring it got a bit quiet. The guy did it at Argentina when it mattered and it was great to see.

I remember the Brazilian Ronaldo- the guy looked like he ruled the world for a while; doing everything he can for Brazil and winning stuff for them and playing for both the Italian and Spanish leagues. Felt like the player was good anywhere he goes and any team he played for - for a good while at least until he may have started fading a bit. Cruzeiro, PSV, Inter, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Brazil - he played and won things for them. World cups, copa America’s is really where he shined.

Then there’s the Xavi’s and Iniesta’s - grew up with the La Masia style and technique but they became a part of the best team football I have ever seen when Guardiola was manager.
You then watched Spain and watched how Xavi, Iniesta, players like Pique, puyol and Villa and more would play this possession based football to dominate the World Cup and Euros - it just made you appreciate that midfield even more because they were able to do it wherever they went.


again, we are not going to change each other’s mind so let’s just leave it.

You like to judge a players ability by their technique of their foot - in my opinion spending your life playing around La Masia style football, absolutely possession dominating in a top heavy La Liga even under an average manager like KoemAn - shows how much of a benefit a player can play when playing to one style of football in one club, only ever achieving for them and that arguably going down as the Barcelona style started fading ie when Iniesta and Xavi started retiring. Another player fo look at is Pedro who was great for Barcelona- looked a complete shadow of him self when he moved to Chelsea and other teams.

I like to judge a player on a mix of technique, ability to adapt, ability to win things with different teams when it matters and basically ability to have the world at your feet no matter where you go and who you play for. I saw that most with C Ronaldo.
 

shamans

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One of the most common mistakes people make with Ronaldo is thinking he was never that magical but a product of pure hard work. Of course he has worked harder than maybe no other but Ronaldo had more tricks and skills at his fee than Neymar. Naturally the boy was always something else with his feet. His problem is in terms of dribbling he gets compared to a certain other dribbler but let's not forget just how good Ronaldo was as well with the ball at his feet.

Also, he was always a physical specimen. Sure he didn't have the body but at 19/20 Ronaldo had very good natural strength and the most absurd stamina for bursts of pace even at 90 minutes. So yes he worked hard but a lot of it was natural as well.
 

Bebestation

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One of the most common mistakes people make with Ronaldo is thinking he was never that magical but a product of pure hard work. Of course he has worked harder than maybe no other but Ronaldo had more tricks and skills at his fee than Neymar. Naturally the boy was always something else with his feet. His problem is in terms of dribbling he gets compared to a certain other dribbler but let's not forget just how good Ronaldo was as well with the ball at his feet.

Also, he was always a physical specimen. Sure he didn't have the body but at 19/20 Ronaldo had very good natural strength and the most absurd stamina for bursts of pace even at 90 minutes. So yes he worked hard but a lot of it was natural as well.
I felt that if C Ronaldo started his career moving from Portugal to Spain then he would have kept that skill aspect longer.

He toned that down playing in the PL as he ended up becoming a more rounded straight to the point player.
 

RedRonaldo

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I felt that if C Ronaldo started his career moving from Portugal to Spain then he would have kept that skill aspect longer.

He toned that down playing in the PL as he ended up becoming a more rounded straight to the point player.
I actually doubt it. The time he really toned down his dribbling was after he started playing in Spain.

During 09-10 season, the first season he played in Spain, he still did a lot of dribbling similar to his late United years. He still has avg over 3.1 dribble per game during that season, but ever since recovering from his injuries suffered during 2nd half of season, he then came back and start to toned it down notably (the following seasons with avg dribble stats of 2.2, 1.9, 1.6, 2.2, 1.5) . Maybe that was his intention in order to stay away from any potential lengthy injuries? As you can see he got fouled a lot too, it’s no good to have Neymar type of career who always likes to dribble, but always have this injuries issues too when it matters.

But it wasn’t bad decision at all as he turns out to be this amazing all round player with lots of goals and assists and enter his truly peak years, it’s just dribbling is no longer his only main weapon, he has developed weapons everywhere which could do damage to opponents equally well. He still did it effectively though, remember all those trademark Ronaldo chop and shoot and goals from his Real Madrid peak period?

And of course he then managed to stay fit all these years, and perhaps due to getting less fouled from dribbling unnecessarily, which enables him to go on break records after records.

I’d say there are 3 or 4 different phase of his dribbling.

First one being his early United years when he just dribbles for fun and the intention is to show off his skills. Don’t have any stats records but I wouldn’t be surprised if he has avg 4-5 dribble per game. (let’s say similar to Neymar)

2nd one being his late United years and early Real Madrid years before he had his lengthy injuries. He sort of combined skills and end products and was very exciting to watch. Avg dribble per game is around 3-4.

3rd period being his peak years in Real Madrid. Apparently he started to tone down his dribbling and start focus more on goals and assists. But his performance is still top top class, as he become this all around attacker who does everything on the pitch, and he still does dribble in effective way (trademark Ronaldo chop which also ends up as goals) Avg dribble per game was around 1.5-2.2.

4th period being the current version of him when he turn to be a poacher. His lowest season in dribble only see him does 0.9 dribble per game, other season he mostly does around 1.5. But this season he does 1.8 (around top 10 highest in the league). So it wasn’t too bad but his perforcmance level has dropped.
 
Last edited:

NasirTimothy

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Why not go watch Pele and Maradona in their 30s? Why keep comparing 31-36 year old Ronaldo with peak Pele and Maradona? Ronaldo back in his physical peak (age 23-29) used to dominating games with his all round performance. His performance level in terms of average rating over season during those years are constantly very high at around 8.2-8.5, which is considered high even in Messi standard.

Below are his performance and assists stats during his peak years apart from goals, they are still top top class, and these alone are worthy of Ballon D’or level even without the goals.

09-10: avg rating 8.54 motm 17, 10 assists
10-11: avg rating 8.35 motm 15, 17 assists
11-12: avg rating 8.28 motm 14, 18 assists
12-13: avg rating 8.15 motm 15, 14 assists
13-14: avg rating 8.27 motm 14, 15 assists
14-15: avg rating 8.48 motm 19, 21 assists

It’s no secret that since he hit past his 30, his performance level start to drop considerably, but so were the likes of Pele and Maradona. At least he still scoring a lot of goals, so he is still impacting games far more than other past GOAT at around same age.

For sake of comparison, these are average rating of some of other top players today (this season), to give you an idea how good was Ronaldo back in his days.

Mbappe 7.68
Haaland 7.63
Bruno 7.49
KDB 7.65
I watched Ronaldo at his physical peak, he was not on the level of Maradona at his. Maradona just had a level of footballing ability that CR doesn’t possess. CR brings other weapons to the table, pace, height, determination etc, but there is a gap between them in terms of pure footballing ability. Diego was so good that as a child, people thought he was a midget pretending to be a kid.
 

Gehrman

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I watched Ronaldo at his physical peak, he was not on the level of Maradona at his. Maradona just had a level of footballing ability that CR doesn’t possess. CR brings other weapons to the table, pace, height, determination etc, but there is a gap between them in terms of pure footballing ability. Diego was so good that as a child, people thought he was a midget pretending to be a kid.
I think one of the beautiful things in football is that players have such a variety of abilities, attributes and styles because it's a 11 vs 11 team game and the game is the way it is. For me comparing Cryuff and Beckenbauer is pretty much impossible. In the same way I feel it's very hard to even compare some attacking players like Ronaldo and Maradonna with each other. Diego had a mastery over the ball and vision that Ronaldo doesn't posess, on the other hand his overall skill level is high combined with supreme athletic ability, anticipation and an amazing goalscoring ability and is probably the best header of the ball ever. Even though his free kick ability has gone to shits now, he's still high on the list of most free kicks scored in history. For me with Maradonna you're comparing a genius with a goalscoring machine.
 

NasirTimothy

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I think one of the beautiful things in football is that players have such a variety of abilities, attributes and styles because it's a 11 vs 11 team game and the game is the way it is. For me comparing Cryuff and Beckenbauer is pretty much impossible. In the same way I feel it's very hard to even compare some attacking players like Ronaldo and Maradonna with each other. Diego had a mastery over the ball and vision that Ronaldo doesn't posess, on the other hand his overall skill level is high combined with supreme athletic ability, anticipation and an amazing goalscoring ability and is probably the best header of the ball ever. Even though his free kick ability has gone to shits now, he's still high on the list of most free kicks scored in history. For me with Maradonna you're comparing a genius with a goalscoring machine.
Well this is why I think Pele is the greatest player in history, because he had (IMO) the best combination of attributes ever collected together in one player. He had the genius footballing ability and the supreme athleticism.
 

Gehrman

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Well this is why I think Pele is the greatest player in history, because he had (IMO) the best combination of attributes ever collected together in one player. He had the genius footballing ability and the supreme athleticism.
It's hard to argue that Pelé is pretty much the most complete footballer of all time and had the perfect career. I think the fact that most of us weren't around to watch him means it's hard to rate him as we should since we werent really there to witness him in his era.
 

NasirTimothy

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It's hard to argue that Pelé is pretty much the most complete footballer of all time and had the perfect career. I think the fact that most of us weren't around to watch him means it's hard to rate him as we should since we werent really there to witness him in his era.
I was not there either but I came to that conclusion (after initially thinking that it was Maradona) by watching as much footage (and full matches) as I could possibly find.

Nowadays it’s a lot easier than when I started because there is a lot of stuff online at the click of a button. You can watch many of the World Cup matches plus about three dozen dozen other games which are easily available. There’s also hours and hours of clips and compilations around. It’s enough to get a very good idea of what he was like.

Obviously I would have preferred to be there but I’m just grateful that there is any footage at all. So many great players never had their feats recorded at all (save some brief newsreels), Meazza, Sindelar, Leonidas etc.
 

Gehrman

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I was not there either but I came to that conclusion (after initially thinking that it was Maradona) by watching as much footage (and full matches) as I could possibly find.

Nowadays it’s a lot easier than when I started because there is a lot of stuff online at the click of a button. You can watch many of the World Cup matches plus about three dozen dozen other games which are easily available. There’s also hours and hours of clips and compilations around. It’s enough to get a very good idea of what he was like.

Obviously I would have preferred to be there but I’m just grateful that there is any footage at all. So many great players never had their feats recorded at all (save some brief newsreels), Meazza, Sindelar, Leonidas etc.
Sorry, I made a typo. I meant it's hard not to argue that Pelé is the most complete footballer of all time.
 

Phlansch

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I was not there either but I came to that conclusion (after initially thinking that it was Maradona) by watching as much footage (and full matches) as I could possibly find.

Nowadays it’s a lot easier than when I started because there is a lot of stuff online at the click of a button. You can watch many of the World Cup matches plus about three dozen dozen other games which are easily available. There’s also lots of bookmakers for Canadian players as you can see on playersbest.com/ca/. It’s enough to get a very good idea of what he was like.

Obviously I would have preferred to be there but I’m just grateful that there is any footage at all. So many great players never had their feats recorded at all (save some brief newsreels), Meazza, Sindelar, Leonidas etc.
It's true, we have much more footage these days including slowmos from different angles. Also I think that it's hard to compare the gameplay today with the gameplay 50 years ago. Maybe players like Meazza would have adapted their playstyle to the modern tactics.
 

Dan_F

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You missed the United bit already.
I was already watching, I turned off when the Madrid stuff came on :D

I hadn’t planned on watching it, was just flicking through and saw it was on. Always up for a bit of United nostalgia from the 2000s.
 

Hughes35

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Did anybody see that in the Span game he ran 92 meters 10 seconds.... The guy is an absolute phenomenon.
 

Earvin Johnson

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but again I don’t see why your opinion is right and mine is wrong?

Even if it’s just a player not adapting to his environment - which may not seem so football like to you; that’s what makes C Ronaldo special to me. He just adapts. His style of football is so simple rather than having to attempt to dribble in a league that does not allow you to do it - you will see him jump 10 feet in the sky to do a nice header in the Serie A or the PL.

Pure admiration of a players mentality than just looking and kissing his technical feet.

I mean you bought up Maradona failing at Barcelona. The guy had wonderful technique but he had also won things with different clubs - boca juniors, copa del ray at Barcelona even when injured, serie A and Uefa cup for Napoli and World Cup for Argentina.

would he be this special player if all he ever did it for was Napoli, spending all his life there - having the team built to his style, winning everything he can on repeat whilst the Napoli midfielder players were good but once they start retiring it got a bit quiet. The guy did it at Argentina when it mattered and it was great to see.

I remember the Brazilian Ronaldo- the guy looked like he ruled the world for a while; doing everything he can for Brazil and winning stuff for them and playing for both the Italian and Spanish leagues. Felt like the player was good anywhere he goes and any team he played for - for a good while at least until he may have started fading a bit. Cruzeiro, PSV, Inter, Barcelona and Real Madrid, Brazil - he played and won things for them. World cups, copa America’s is really where he shined.

Then there’s the Xavi’s and Iniesta’s - grew up with the La Masia style and technique but they became a part of the best team football I have ever seen when Guardiola was manager.
You then watched Spain and watched how Xavi, Iniesta, players like Pique, puyol and Villa and more would play this possession based football to dominate the World Cup and Euros - it just made you appreciate that midfield even more because they were able to do it wherever they went.


again, we are not going to change each other’s mind so let’s just leave it.

You like to judge a players ability by their technique of their foot - in my opinion spending your life playing around La Masia style football, absolutely possession dominating in a top heavy La Liga even under an average manager like KoemAn - shows how much of a benefit a player can play when playing to one style of football in one club, only ever achieving for them and that arguably going down as the Barcelona style started fading ie when Iniesta and Xavi started retiring. Another player fo look at is Pedro who was great for Barcelona- looked a complete shadow of him self when he moved to Chelsea and other teams.

I like to judge a player on a mix of technique, ability to adapt, ability to win things with different teams when it matters and basically ability to have the world at your feet no matter where you go and who you play for. I saw that most with C Ronaldo.
Necause you are presenting an opinion which does not stand the test of scrutiny. If i make claim which i believe is right but the arguments i use are flawed then you would be right to point them out to me. But it's not what you did, i wish you would have adressed the arguments presented rather like i did with yours The logic you are using is deeply flawed because it is not reproducible. Zlatan did adapt to waay more environements than a player like Maradona or Pele, yet no one would claim that he is a better player, because at the end of the day this is a nitpicked argument that no one ever uses to judge the quality of a player. Afterall, if Ronaldo, cruyff or Maradona are considered as all time greats it's because of their abilities on the pitch and not based on how many systems they played into.

I already explained to you, what adapting into a system means and what kind of conclusions we can come up with such an argument but you conveniently ignored them.
 

RedRonaldo

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SIIIIIIIUUU

Six more goals to pass Ali Daei.
There's a slim chance he could break it in this Euro? Maybe not easy, but he need to score 5 goals to level with record and 6 goals to break it, which is still achievable if Portugal has a good run.

But there's another record he could easily break in Euro - most goals scored in Euro. He is currently level on 9 goals with Platini, so he only need to score 1 more to break the record.
 

Bepi

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Really hoping he has a phenomenal tournament, so that some big fish will make a much needed splash to secure his never ending services :wenger:
 

dinostar77

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Really hoping he has a phenomenal tournament, so that some big fish will make a much needed splash to secure his never ending services :wenger:
Jorge Mendes has already been hawking his services around the big clubs. Madrid said no publicly. PSG depends on a number of issues i.e. will leonardo get sacked as DoF? Will poch stay? Will Mbappe be allowed to move to madrid?

Apparently we are interested but he isnt the priority this summer. So it will be a wait and see. Though he could be a poisoned chalice for the glazers. Ronaldo is a serial winner who wants to win trophies. The glazera just want CL qualification and couldnt care less about trophies.

I think he will remain at Juventus, though personally PSG for 2 years then a few years at Inter Miami would be a fitting end to his career.
 

Ekkie Thump

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Ronaldo dribbles info - dunno how accurate but imagine they are:

1. Number of completed dribbles vs Benfica (Orbinho claims to be the bloke behind @Optajoe):


So 21 attempts, 14 successful. Still a hell of a lot.

2. Number of completed dribbles in Champions League for Man Utd:


This averages out at 3.8 per 90 if they included qualifying, or 4 per 90 if they didn't.

3. Number of dribbles in Premier League for Man Utd:


506 dribbles in his United career for an average of 3 per 90 - apparently more than any other player in that span of time.


Breaking this down per season gets a bit trickier. Dodgy sources and not sure where they got their figures from.

03/04 - 177 attempted dribbles at a 33.3% success rate = 59 successful dribbles or 3.3 per 90. (1548 minutes) (crap source here)
04/05 - ???
05/06 - 251 attempted dribbles at a 43% success rate = 108 successful dribbles or 4.2 per 90 (2284 minutes)
06/07 - 190 attempted dribbles at a 44.7% success rate = 85 successful dribbles or 2.7 per 90 (2790 minutes)
07/08 - 193 attempted dribbles at a 46.6% success rate = 90 successful dribbles or 2.95 per 90 (2747 minutes) (Sun! source here)

So while Ronaldo didn't really purge himself of dribbling he did reduce his output considerably while also improving its effectiveness.
 

Threesus

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Really hoping he has a phenomenal tournament, so that some big fish will make a much needed splash to secure his never ending services :wenger:
Is he hated by your fans? He was brought in to deliver the CL, but has failed.
 

Earvin Johnson

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Ronaldo dribbles info - dunno how accurate but imagine they are:

1. Number of completed dribbles vs Benfica (Orbinho claims to be the bloke behind @Optajoe):



So 21 attempts, 14 successful. Still a hell of a lot.

2. Number of completed dribbles in Champions League for Man Utd:



This averages out at 3.8 per 90 if they included qualifying, or 4 per 90 if they didn't.

3. Number of dribbles in Premier League for Man Utd:



506 dribbles in his United career for an average of 3 per 90 - apparently more than any other player in that span of time.


Breaking this down per season gets a bit trickier. Dodgy sources and not sure where they got their figures from.

03/04 - 177 attempted dribbles at a 33.3% success rate = 59 successful dribbles or 3.3 per 90. (1548 minutes)
04/05 - ???
05/06 - 251 attempted dribbles at a 43% success rate = 108 successful dribbles or 4.2 per 90 (2284 minutes)
06/07 - 190 attempted dribbles at a 44.7% success rate = 85 successful dribbles or 2.7 per 90 (2790 minutes)
07/08 - 193 attempted dribbles at a 46.6% success rate = 90 successful dribbles or 2.95 per 90 (2747 minutes)

So while Ronaldo didn't really purge himself of dribbling he did reduce his output considerably while also improving its effectiveness.
Great work to keep track of the data !
 

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@Hashira So did you follow Baggio's career closely ? Obviously there's more footage available on Ronaldo's games. But the little i've seen from Baggio really reminded me of peak CR7 because the crowd loved them!

You can see how when they get the ball the crowd always gets a sense that something could happen.
Was nothing like Ronaldo. Baggio was very skillful...could dribble past players. Ronaldo turned into a supreme version of Gary Lineker but even at United he was nothing like Baggio.
 

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Is he hated by your fans? He was brought in to deliver the CL, but has failed.
he isn't hated.
But covid hit hard italian clubs Juventus as well so his 60m gross wages are too high for us to handle.
He is great but focus too much on himself during the game leading to the other strikers to fail to deliver as well making him the 80% of Juventus finalized goals.
Which in a sense isn't good.
Actually if we didn't have financial problems (if we don't sell anyone we'll hit a -200m this fiscal year) we would never sell Ronaldo.
Our problems is that we got Ronaldo but failed to put a decent team around him.
He had to be the icing on the cake but instead became the cake itself.
Our midfield is atrocious but we don't have money to improve it unless Exor once again after 2019 put another 300m cash
 

Arios

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Was nothing like Ronaldo. Baggio was very skillful...could dribble past players. Ronaldo turned into a supreme version of Gary Lineker but even at United he was nothing like Baggio.
Baggio to me is greater than Ronaldo.
Rules were harsher for strikers back then. Nowdays it's all pro strikers they got the physical of football away from the game. So any freaking light touch is either a foul and a yellow.
Also Baggio played most of his career like that:
youtube.com/watch?v=ZTZl6yXD-Gw
 

RedRonaldo

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Baggio to me is greater than Ronaldo.
Rules were harsher for strikers back then. Nowdays it's all pro strikers they got the physical of football away from the game. So any freaking light touch is either a foul and a yellow.
Also Baggio played most of his career like that:
youtube.com/watch?v=ZTZl6yXD-Gw
Ronaldo won more trophies in Italy alone over past 3 years than Baggio in his whole career (19 years), so I don't know what you mean by "greater". But if you mean Baggio was your favourite player with greater style, then I don't have any comments on that, I like Baggio too.
 

Spoony

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Baggio to me is greater than Ronaldo.
Rules were harsher for strikers back then. Nowdays it's all pro strikers they got the physical of football away from the game. So any freaking light touch is either a foul and a yellow.
Also Baggio played most of his career like that:
youtube.com/watch?v=ZTZl6yXD-Gw
Indeed. Baggio was a genius.
 

MrEleson

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Baggio to me is greater than Ronaldo.
Rules were harsher for strikers back then. Nowdays it's all pro strikers they got the physical of football away from the game. So any freaking light touch is either a foul and a yellow.
Also Baggio played most of his career like that:
youtube.com/watch?v=ZTZl6yXD-Gw
“Greater?” Regardless of preference, that’s factually incorrect.
 

tomaldinho1

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he isn't hated.
But covid hit hard italian clubs Juventus as well so his 60m gross wages are too high for us to handle.
He is great but focus too much on himself during the game leading to the other strikers to fail to deliver as well making him the 80% of Juventus finalized goals.
Which in a sense isn't good.
Actually if we didn't have financial problems (if we don't sell anyone we'll hit a -200m this fiscal year) we would never sell Ronaldo.
Our problems is that we got Ronaldo but failed to put a decent team around him.
He had to be the icing on the cake but instead became the cake itself.
Our midfield is atrocious but we don't have money to improve it unless Exor once again after 2019 put another 300m cash
This is a reasonable view and shows how different Juve fans think to a few on here talking about his greed ruining Juve - the club chose to sign him and chose to pay him...was he meant to refuse and demand a lower salary? Signing Ramsey on stupid wages was far more damaging and stupid. Also funny how Messi's salary is a factor in why Barcelona are facing bankruptcy but that seems to rarely surface as a negative against him.

Realistically this is Ronaldo's last Euros in my opinion, let's just appreciate a GOAT whilst he's still playing.