Cristiano Ronaldo is now considered as one of the greatest football players of all time, but his journey to the top was not without its struggles. The Portuguese superstar had to overcome a number of obstacles before achieving the extraordinary success he enjoys today.
Ronaldo was born on February 5, 1985, on the island of Madeira, Portugal. He began his football career at the young age of eight when he joined the local team Andorinha. Despite his young age, Ronaldo displayed immense talent and quickly caught the attention of the island’s top club, Nacional.
At Nacional, Ronaldo’s performance was impressive enough to attract interest from mainland Portugal’s top clubs like Sporting Lisbon and Benfica. Ronaldo started his career at Sporting Lisbon as a teenager, but it wasn’t an easy ride for him.
Firstly, Ronaldo faced isolation from his teammates. Being a football prodigy, Ronaldo was naturally the star player of the team. But, this prompted intense jealousy among his teammates because they felt neglected in the shadow of such a talented player. Consequently, they thought of him as being arrogant, which resulted in Ronaldo being bullied and teased by his teammates.
Despite the mental torture, Ronaldo continued to prove himself on the pitch. In his debut season for Sporting Lisbon’s under-16 team, Ronaldo scored 84 goals. He was soon promoted to the first team, where he continued to show his exceptional skills. However, because he was too obsessed with his game and personal development, it put a further strain between him and his teammates. His passion and willingness to succeed was at odds with his team’s mindset which believed in relaxing and enjoying life.
While playing for Lisbon, Ronaldo faced another major setback – his father’s death. His father, Jose Dinis Aveiro, was an alcoholic who died from liver-related issues in 2005. The former Manchester United player shared a close relationship with his father, and his loss was devastating for Ronaldo. Ronaldo has since spoken about how his father remains a big influence on managing to succeed in his career and the values he holds today.
Ronaldo finally began to find his footing when he joined Manchester United in 2003. He had a tough start at Manchester United, as he struggled to adapt to the English style of football, which was faster and more physical than what he was used to. The language and culture barrier was also challenging for him in the beginning.
However, Ronaldo was determined to improve and spent hours studying tapes of his games so that he could identify his mistakes. Under the guidance of Sir Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo was able to mature as a player and increase his physicality, which was essential in competing in the English Premier League. Consequently, he won three Premier League titles, the Champions League, and the Ballon d’Or award while playing for Manchester United.
In conclusion, Ronaldo’s early career struggles have been a significant part of his journey to success. His determination and resilience have brought him to where he is today. He overcame isolation, bullying, cultural barriers, and the death of his father. The Messi vs Ronaldo debate may never be decided, but what is clear is Ronaldo’s commitment to honing his craft and becoming one of the most successful footballers of all time.