Whichever club you support, whichever player you love, you just cannot deny that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best footballers ever. Over the last decade, he has broken every possible scoring record there is. He has filled up his cabinet with every accolade, both individual and collective.
In 2016, when he led Portugal to an unprecedented European Championship triumph, Ronaldo added an international trophy to his growing trophy cabinet and cemented his status as an all-time great. Here, we take a look at ten famous quotes by his teammates, rivals, and former players on his sheer brilliance.
#10 Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho was speaking ahead of Madrid’s clash against United back in 2013 at Old Trafford. He believed that his fellow countryman was nothing short of amazing and had already surpassed Maradona and Pele as the best ever.
“He is the best. The best in the world, yes. Probably the best. I saw Maradona a couple of times. I never saw Pele."
“But Cristiano is amazing. This man is the best. Cristiano is a goals machine. He is an incredible player. He is like Zidane; there will never be another Ronaldo.”
The Portuguese manager was in charge of Real Madrid for three moderately successful seasons. His team was very much centred around Ronaldo, and he helped Ronaldo to his only triumph in La Liga in the 2011-12 season.
#9 Zinedine Zidane
Zidane, of course, presided over a very successful Real Madrid team. Los Blancos had a staggering three UEFA Champions League crowns under his tutelage, with Ronaldo leading the charge before sealing a move to Juventus in the summer of 2018.
The duo enjoyed resounding success in their time together in the Spanish capital and if anyone wondered how relaxing it was to have someone of Ronaldo's calibre in the team, Zidane has given some insight about that.
“When you play with Ronaldo on your team, you are already 1-0 up.”
#8 Ryan Giggs
Ryan Giggs, who is considered as a legend at Manchester United, had a highly successful career in the Premier League. When Ronaldo arrived at Old Trafford, the Welshman was already a big star.
The Welshman had a lasting impact on Ronaldo. After all, it was under his watchful eyes that Ronaldo developed from a lanky teenager to one of the best in the world.
“When Ronaldo gets the ball, you can just leave him to it while he beats player after player.”
#7 Luis Figo
Luis Figo was Ronaldo's predecessor, in every sense of that word. The two had similar career graphs, with Figo starting his career in Portugal and then joining one of the biggest European clubs, Barcelona. He then moved to Real Madrid and found success there as well.
Ronaldo played under Figo’s leadership in the national side until the latter retired after the 2006 World Cup.
“There are some things Ronaldo can do with a football that makes me touch my head and wonder how on earth he did it.”
#6 Sir Bobby Charlton
Sir Bobby Charlton, who is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of all time, is a Manchester United legend.
Being one of the members of United's board of directors, he had the opportunity to observe Ronaldo’s development from close quarters. At United, Ronaldo was the one driving force that led them to so many famous victories, and even the usually reserved Sir Bobby could not help but heap praise on him.
“He (Ronaldo) does things I have never seen from any other player, and it is marvellous to watch. It takes a great player to grab the bull by the horns and make things happen, but he has done it repeatedly.”
#5 Johan Cruyff
Johan Cruyff has always been a great judge of talent. He had said it before that Ronaldo was something special. When the fans and the pundits began comparing Ronaldo to George Best and Denis Law, two greats of United’s sparkling history, he went on record to say that the Portuguese international was even better the famed duo.
Ronaldo, for his part, did nothing to prove Cruyff wrong as he went on to become only the fourth player in United’s history to win the Ballon d’Or in 2008 and followed it up with four more in the coming years.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is better than George Best and Denis Law, who were two brilliant and great players in the history of United.”
Cristiano Ronaldo was likened to Eusebio ever since he burst onto the scene. His speed, technique, athleticism, ferocious right-footed shot, and his goal-scoring abilities contributed to an uncanny resemblance to the Portuguese great.
Eusebio, himself, was left impressed by his successor’s qualities and heaped praise on a young Ronaldo. By now, of course, we are well aware of how much ‘magic’ there is in Ronaldo’s boots. Remember that elastico nutmeg on David Lopez?
“He has magic in his boots. The first thing you notice about him is that he is incredibly quick and very, very powerful for such a young man."
“He has great, close control and his technique is excellent. He believes he can do anything with the ball, and that confidence makes him very special indeed.”
#3 George Best
George Best is considered by many as the greatest footballer of all time, even better than Pele and Diego Maradona. The winger, who had many characteristics similar to that of Ronaldo, is a Manchester United legend.
Of course, he was the footballer who made the number seven jersey famous at United, and it is part of his legacy that makes the number so special. Ronaldo, later on, donned the number seven iconic shirt at Old Trafford and was subsequently compared to the Northern Irishman very often.
“There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it's been a compliment to me.”
#2 Sir Alex Ferguson
One of the most successful managers in football history, Sir Alex Ferguson oversaw the most successful era in the history of Manchester United. It was he who first realised the true potential of Ronaldo, brought him over to England, and shaped him into the world-beater that he is today.
Twenty-six years at a single club is no easy achievement. In all those years, Sir Alex had seen some of the best players in the world, from David Beckham to Paul Scholes. Yet, he chose to put Ronaldo right at the top.
“We’ve had some great players at this club in my 20 years, but he’s up with the best.”
#1 Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi, of course, is Ronaldo’s greatest rival. The two footballers have dominated world football over the last decade like no other. Since 2008, the two have shared the Ballon d’Or award eleven times, with Ronaldo winning five times and Messi, six.
The Argentine, who has seldom been outspoken about his rival, showered praise in this particular interview back in 2013. Although he had just collected the Golden Shoe award for scoring the most number of goals in the previous season, he was quick to acknowledge Ronaldo’s goal-scoring prowess.
“(Ronaldo) is always there scoring goals in all the games and taking part in his club and national side. He has been doing that for many years and whether he is at his peak or a bit below it makes no difference.”