To be a celebrity-athlete is not an easy thing. All eyes, all cameras and all spotlights are on them, both on and off the field. Competition is the name of the game, and in a world where ranking is everything, celebrity-athletes often have to fight for the top.
There’s one football player, however, who doesn’t seem to have that problem. There is no doubt that the three words most associated with Portuguese Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo’s name are “first,” “most,” and “highest.”
Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro is the first Portuguese football player to reach three Ballons d’Or, with two in consecutive years. He is also the first football player to ever win four European Golden Shoe awards, and the first to win that particular award while playing for two different leagues (the English Premier League with Manchester United, and La Liga with Real Madrid). He is also the first Portuguese player signed by Manchester United, and the first football player to win all the main PFA and FWA awards (PFA Players’ Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, and FWA Footballer of the Year). There’s more, but there simply isn’t enough time or space to continue listing all his “first” accomplishments.
Cristiano Ronaldo also became the most expensive football player in the world in 2009, when he transferred from Manchester United to Real Madrid at a fee of 94.4 million euros. He also happens to be the highest-paid football player, with an annual salary of 17 million euros. He has the highest average goals per game in La Liga at 1.08 goals, while playing for Real Madrid. He is also the highest scorer in away games for Real Madrid. Obviously, for Ronaldo, the football field is his home, and it doesn’t matter where that field is. And guess what? The list hasn’t even been exhausted yet.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s ruthless competitiveness–and obviously his skill–has led him to become one of the greatest football players in the world, if not in the entire sport’s history. Cristiano Ronaldo has more than just competitiveness; he has winning in his blood, especially on the football field. He has said, “Every season is a new challenge to me and I always set out to improve in terms of games, goals, assists…It is part of me to make improvements and I try to dedicate myself all the time.”
It is evident from his three Ballon d’Or awards, given annually by FIFA to the best professional male football player, that excellence in football is a Cristiano Ronaldo trademark that football players will be trying to emulate for years. Additionally, Ronaldo won the Globe Soccer Best Player of the Year award and World’s Top Goalscorer in 2013 for European competitions–and these are just a few of the numerous awards he has won in his amazing career. Ronaldo is at the top of his game, and it doesn’t look like he will be slowing down anytime soon.
Ronaldo + Competition = Success
Ronaldo’s heightened sense of competition is no secret; he openly discusses it with the press in every single one of his interviews. Even when discussing the transition from Manchester United to Real Madrid, Ronaldo admitted freely that staying with Manchester United would have been easier for him, since he was used to playing for them. However, he stated that he would appreciate the “new challenge” in Real Madrid as a means to becoming the absolute best at football. This attitude has results, as he proves over and over again through his ever-growing list of accomplishments and broken records in football history.
Bettering himself as a football player is one of Ronaldo’s main competitive drives on the field, as his Real Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos points out on the Real Madrid website. Teammates, coaches, and fans have often witnessed Ronaldo’s frustration in what he sees as his personal shortcomings during games, despite a team win. It is true; most of the pressure he is under is that which he has placed upon himself, which is where his excellence comes from.
In an interview with CNN’s Pedro Pinto, Ronaldo acknowledged that he takes anything with a chance of winning seriously. Even an informal swimming pool outing, he explained, always turns into a race and he always tries to win. If this state of mind continues, the football player might one day have no more records to break but his own. For any celebrity-athlete, that’s the ultimate goal.
Not Just A Football Player
Even football celebrity-athletes need a break every now and then from their usual games, although not necessarily from the spotlight. Most recently, Cristiano Ronaldo signed up to be an ambassador for the online poker room PokerStars. Ronaldo says on his YouTube channel that “to challenge the best players in poker for me is a pleasure. It will be fun.” Ronaldo does not seem nervous at the thought that all eyes will be on him as he plays in a game that he is (relative to football) untested in. Instead, with the classic Ronaldo attitude, he relishes the opportunity to sharpen his own skills against whoever comes against him at the poker table, even poker pros. If you are brave enough to challenge him, you can find him by his user id C.Ronaldo.
What does Ronaldo bring to the poker table from football? Well, besides the competitiveness that is evident in every one of his games and interviews, Ronaldo exudes the values of commitment, a willingness to work hard, and a strong desire to be the best. As he takes on his new role as poker player along with sports stars Rafa Nadal and Fatima Moreira de Melo, these values should benefit him as well as everyone on Team PokerStars.
In a recent interview he stated that, “Although football is my world, poker has always been my game.” This is a game we are all looking forward to watching him play for quite some time.