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CR7 show finally over

THE Cristiano Ronaldo Football Show — a show of phenomenal perfomance and success unparalleled in many respects — finally over, perhaps after a bit of an overstay on the stage.




THE Cristiano Ronaldo Football Show — a show of phenomenal perfomance and success unparalleled in many respects — finally over, perhaps after a bit of an overstay on the stage.

There is an African adage in Nguni languages widely spoken in South Africa and the region, including in Zimbabwe — kusinwa kudedelwana — which means one should not overstay on the dance floor no matter how great a dancer they may be, lest they spoil their record and the show itself.

Although he has not made an official announcement on his future, the curtain has now all but come down on Ronaldo’s glittering career at Euro2024 in Germany.

After all, he is 39. It was one of the best shows in the history of the game and will be badly difficult for future generation to emulate and match.

In the vast tapestry of football excellence and superstardom, few names shone as brightly as Ronaldo’s.

And few, if any, made a fortune like he did.

He is living in the laps of luxury.

Born Cristiano Ronaldo Dos Santos Aveiro in Funchal, Portugal, on 5 February 1985, his career history is marked by remarkable achievements, milestones, and triumphs at both club and international levels, with a few lows. His biggest disappointment, though, is not winning the World Cup.

It is difficult to imagine he will play in the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico given his struggles in Germany. Affectionately known as CR7, his phenomenal journey from humble beginnings (as a boy who begged for burgers at McDonald’s in Portugal) to global superstardom and being mega-rich has captivated and captured the hearts and minds of fans worldwide.

With his unparalleled talent, relentless drive, and unwavering determination, Ronaldo has not only dominated the sport, but also left an indelible footprint on its soul.

From his breathtaking goals to his unwavering commitment to professionalism and big stage performances, Ronaldo’s impact transcends the boundaries of the sport.

How the crowds and kids admired and scrambled for photos and selfies with him in Germany said it all.

Ronaldo excelled in England, Spain and Italy, winning many titles and breaking records.

He began his professional career at Sporting Lisbon in Portugal in 2002-2003. His outstanding performances quickly caught the attention of top clubs across Europe, but Manchester United beat all of them to his signature.

At United, he won three English Premier League titles, one UEFA Champions League trophy, and numerous individual awards, including his first FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2008.

United fans truly fell in love with the dazzling footwork of the Portuguese, although his return to the club for a second spell did not end well.

That took him to Saudi Arabia. But it was at Real Madrid where he rose to the zenith of world football, going head-to-head with his eternal rival, the super-talented Lionel Messi, then at Barcelona.

Some of the things Ronaldo did at Madrid can’t be repeated — realistically. It is stuff of legend.

Ronaldo is now a huge part of Madrid’s legacy and will forever be remembered as one of the great icons of the club. In fact, some would dare say the greatest ever for Madrid, although the club conservatives would rather stand with Afredo di Stéfano.

Unveiled at the Santiago Bernabéu on 6 July 2009 before 80 000 fans where he was joined by Madrid legends Eusebio and Di Stéfano, Ronaldo netted 451 times in 438 competitive appearances (averaging over a goal a game).

Incredible stuff. He scored in all of competitions he featured in: 312 in LaLiga, 105 in the Champions League, 22 in the Copa del Rey, six in the Club World Cup, four in the Spanish Super Cup and two in the UEFA Super Cup.

Nobody throughout the club’s history has scored as many goals as he did, who boasts an impressive trophy haul as him: four Champions League crowns, three Club World Cups and UEFA Super Cups apiece, two LaLiga titles, a pair of Copas del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups.

This list of his extraordinary honours is completed with four Ballons d’Or, three Golden Shoe awards, two The Best awards, whilst he was named UEFA Best Player in Europe three times and landed the Pichichi crown on three occasions.

When he joined Madrid, he had already won a Balon d’Or at United.

During the course of his nine seasons as a Madrid player, Ronaldo secured a number of impressive records: the club’s alltime leading goalscorer, the leading marksmen in European Cup history (he scored 105 goals for Real Madrid in the Champions League); the all-time leading madridista goalscorer in LaLiga (312); highest number of games in which a player has scored three or more times in LaLiga history (34); and the most goals to have been scored by a Real Madrid player in a single season (61).

He also clinched the record for most goals in a Champions League campaign (17) and ended the competition as the leading goalscorer on six occasions. With over 800 career goals, Ronaldo is undoubtedly one of the most lethal marksmen in the history of football.

He is the all-time record international goalscorer with 118 strikes, and also boasts of being the all-time leading scorer in the Uefa Champions League (140).

He became the most-capped men’s player in history after being included in the starting XI for Portugal’s Euro2024 qualifier with Liechtenstein.

With this he officially registered his 197th international cap, overtaking Kuwait forward Bader Al-Mutawa.

His exit last night from Euro2024 in Germany as Portugal crashed out in the quarter-finals at the hands of a dreadfully dull France team was hardly his fault.

Ronaldo scored his penalty in the penalty shootout, which the Seleccao lost 5-3 after Joao Felix missed his take.

But perhaps Ronaldo shouldn’t have been still on the pitch at 39 as the African adage refers.

Yet his brand shone in Germany brighter than all. Fans jostled and scrambled for photos and selfies with him; kids stormed pitches and screamed to reach him.

Even though he was eliminated, Ronaldo has a lot to be proud of: Five Uefa Champions League; 5 Balon d’Ors; 4 FIFA Club World Cup; 3 English Premier League; 2 Uefa Super Cup; 2 La Liga; 2 Serie A; 2 Copa del Rey; 2 Spanish Super Cup; 2 Italian Super Cup; 2 English League Cup; 1 Uefa European Championship; 1 Uefa Nations League; 1 FA Cup; 1 FA Community Shield; 1 Coppa Italia; 1 Portuguese Super Cup and 1 Arab Club Champions Cup.

That is why Ronaldo is up there with the greateat of all time: Pele, Maradona, Messi, Ronaldo (R9), Ronaldinho, Beckenbauer, Di Stéfano, Zidane and Cruyff. Madrid president Florentino Pérez described him as the “heir to Alfredo Di Stéfano”, and just like Don Alfredo, he has left an indelible mark on the history of the best club in the world and global football.

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