The affluent athlete
The luxurious car’s door is clutched open and as soon as his glimmering polished black shoes make contact with the red carpet, Cristiano Ronaldo is met with flashes of light and exuberant cheer at the FIFA Ballon D’or awards in Paris.
As he readjusts himself in front of the many who are in complete awe of him, he reflects a vibrant smile while signing off autographs before being roped into taking selfies with folks who have to forcibly pinch themselves, only to make themselves believe this is anything but a dream.
It’s safe to say that Cristiano Ronaldo knows a thing or two about the sacrifices involved, surrounding the fame and fortune of an athlete.
Life has been great, from being a household name to having a statue built at an airport in Portugal. Cristiano has conducted himself in such a manner where he leaves no box unticked. Training his mind to project resilience, hardwork and sheer dedication for the love of football, has transformed Ronaldo into a role model not only for football lovers but those outside the sporting field who want to successfully learn how to climb the ranks. His daily schedule encompasses nothing but winning displayed on it.
Life in a movie
I remember impatiently waiting for the release of Ronaldo’s documentary. Released on 9th November, 2015, it managed to touch the hearts of those all over seven continents. Fast forward 6 years and he still manages to maintain a prolific image, despite age catching up with him.
Filmed over 14 months with unprecedented access into the inner circle of the man and the sport, this is the first official and fully authorised film of one of the most celebrated figures in football. For the first time ever, the world gets vividly candid and unparalleled, behind-closed-doors access to the footballer.
An unending debate
Playing at such a high level requires poise. Football as an elite sport has given birth to ample extraordinary athletes like him. Although Ronaldo stands out, there is one individual who is mentioned in the same breath as him. He’s a diminutive, introverted Argentinian who goes by the name of Lionel Messi. And so begins the discussion about who the best player ever to exist is, consequently continuing to ruffle the feathers of a few. This topic has turned friends and families into bitter foes, while simultaneously connecting foes into friends, who would agree on the same.
The quest for adopting the Ball D’or has made Ronaldo and Messi play cat and mouse. Ronaldo opened his Ballon D’or account in 2008 with Manchester United, in the wake of a tantalising display. After which, Messi for the following 4 years left Ronaldo with only scraps to feed on. Ronaldo now has 5 to his name, while Messi has managed to bag one more than his counterpart. Nonetheless, they have pushed each other indirectly in becoming better versions of themselves, while simultaneously setting the bar for those who wish to follow.
Controversy demands its place
Having all eyes on you throughout night and day can be a daunting prospect. Especially when you receive negative publicity. Knowing his profile, who wouldn’t want to be associated with him. A few years back, he was involved in a scandal in Las Vegas. Accused of sexual assault, took a toll on his mental health. Obscurity still looms large over a settlement. It goes to show privacy is of enormous value to Ronaldo.
A slight error made by Ronaldo is pounced upon by the media. Be it either his professional life or that of his personal life. Such situations take a toll on the mental health of an athlete, who already have to make sacrifices in abundance. His abilities have made him machine-like, but it is imperative for us to understand he is only human.
Loyalty is the reward
Aside from his profession, he is an affectionate father, son and friend. Soft qualities which are not shown on the pitch are safely stored in his emotional locker, for his family. The documentary makes clear the two different sides of the same Ronaldo. Spending quality time with his oldest son Cristiano Ronaldo Jr, doing push-ups, sit-ups and a few other strenuous activities in the gym.
Gleeful smiles are exchanged with the media everytime Ronaldo assists his son to school. It wouldn’t surprise me if his offspring follows his footsteps and supersedes him. At the end of the day not everyone is privileged to be mentored by Cristiano Ronaldo.
Plenty of interviews have witnessed Ronaldo giving credit to his mother, Maria, who has been a constant support. Maria plays only a part time role as mother but a full time role as a fan. Whenever Ronaldo is part of the losing team she is equally as hurt. The documentary clarifies how detrimental it was when Portugal were shockingly nudged out of the World Cup. To him relationships play a pivotal part in life.
Despite swimming in fame, he never fails to remember where he came from. Pictures and videos of Ronaldo playing football in the street display part of the poverty-stricken household that he was part of. He says, ‘’Suffering is inevitable’’, and it wasn’t all that easy working towards having quite possibly every wanted car in the world, safely anchored in his garage. Also adding to his immediate success is his disciplined diet that encompasses brocolli, chicken and rice, said a juvenile team-mate, called Dauda Peeters.
From the day he was introduced in a galactico shirt till the very end, Madrid fans knew he would be a protagonist in leading them to everyday glory, and giving people much needed entertainment. The void after leaving Madrid has not yet been filled.
Making the champions league his own required him to assert his mentality on the Los Blancos. In one instance toward the 88th minute Ronaldo carefully studied Di Maria’s face after he showed signs of dejection and defeat, trailing 1-0 to Athletico in the final. He talks about how he motivated Di Maria to have a positive mindset till the very end. The result of that game you ask? Real Madrid beat their bitter city rivals 4-1 in a rather emphatic fashion. He reiterates the constant need of believing.
At the end of the day our accomplishments are all part of the sacrifices we make. A term which Ronaldo is more than familiar with. Behind all the fame and fortune is a heart that on numerous occasions has taken a dagger, which suggests he lives a life no different to ours.
I don’t know how long Ronaldo can grace us with his presence. But what I do know is that if a chef ever wants a recipe for winning, they ought to knock on the Portuguese superstar’s door.
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