Just how influential is Cristiano Ronaldo? Well, let me give you an idea. 2009 saw a lot of major world events take place. The United States’ first ever African-American President took the oath of office. The Great Recession was just making its devastating presence felt. The swine flu gained the status of a global pandemic. Manmohan Singh was re-elected as Prime Minister of India. James Cameron’s Avatar was released to critical acclaim. Michael Jackson was found dead a month before his 51st birthday at his LA mansion and Apple had just released another revolutionary new phone.
However, the biggest, by far the biggest, waves were made by a 24-year-old youngster who, after winning all there was to win at Manchester United – this includes 3 Premier League titles, 1 FA Cup, 2 League Cups, 1 Champions League, and the first of 5 Ballon d’Or titles - transferred to Spanish club Real Madrid for a world record fee of £80 million. That youngster, of course, is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
In hindsight, that £80 million proved to be a bargain, considering Cristiano Ronaldo won 2 La Liga titles, an astonishing four Champions League titles, 2 Spanish Super Cups and three FIFA Club World Cups. He also amassed a plethora of individual awards and personal records, which are just too many to list out. However, despite Ronaldo’s skills as one of the most dependable match winners ever, football – at the end of the day – is a collective sport, and to thrive a club doesn’t just need one player but an entire 11-person team.
Part of the reason why Cristiano Ronaldo thrived at Los Blancos was due to him being supported by some excellent teammates. With that in mind, let’s take a look at:
5 of Cristiano Ronaldo’s best teammates at Real Madrid:
#5 Xabi Alonso
Undoubtedly one of the most gifted but underrated midfielders of his generation, Alonso will rightly go down as one of Spain’s and Real Madrid's greatest ever pass masters. While Cristiano Ronaldo might not have linked with Alonso for many goals, the Spaniard was instrumental in keeping things ticking at the center of the park, which enabled the magic to happen up front.
Such was his influence in Los Blancos’ midfield that Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson deployed Danny Welbeck in a spoiler role to keep the Spaniard in check during the Champions League Round of 16 match back in 2013. Welbeck performed his role brilliantly, but a red card for Nani saw him shift positions, freeing up the Spaniard, who then went on to dictate play and help Real Madrid win the match.
Alonso and Cristiano Ronaldo won 5 trophies at Real Madrid in the form of 1 La Liga, 1 Champions League and 2 Copa del Reys and 1 Spanish Super Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo truly benefitted from this dynamic midfield maestro.
#4 Sergio Ramos
One of Real Madrid’s longest serving players, Los Blancos’ defensive titan has been ever-present in holding down the fort at the back while Cristiano Ronaldo took care of things up front.
Ramos, who has been with Real Madrid since 2005 (a lifetime in footballing terms), has combined with Ronaldo for 16 goals – which is a massive contribution for a center back. Together with Cristiano Ronaldo, Ramos won a total of 18 trophies, including 2 La Liga titles, 4 Champions League titles, 2 Copa del Rays and 4 Club World Cups.
Now Ramos is a player fans love to hate due to his aggressive playing style (Liverpool fans have no love lost for the defender after his awful challenge on Mohamed Salah in the 2018 Champions League final, which forced the Egyptian off with a dislocated shoulder) and his horrendous disciplinary record of 191 league cards (including 20 reds, making him the La Liga’s most sent off player) and 40 Champions League yellows and 4 reds, making him the competition’s most carded player and joint-most red carded player.
However, his talent and knack for goals – cultivated during his time as a right back – is there for all to see, earning him a place as one of Cristiano Ronaldo’s best teammates at Real Madrid.