The history of professional sports is littered with men and women who have laid down their marker and cast their name in gold in their chosen fields and as such, it is a rather dicey situation to attempt to classify a particular athlete as being the best in history.
From Carl Lewis and Usain Bolt on the tracks to Serena Williams and Roger Federer on the tennis courts or even Michael Jordan and Lebron James on the Basketball court, it is extremely difficult to place one over the other as being greater, as each of these athletes can genuinely lay claim to being the greatest of all time in professional sports.
Even in our own beautiful game of football, the status of GOAT is very much open for debate, with modern followers still engaged in bitter arguments over who the better is between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The old-timers believe both men have cannot light a candle to the abilities of legends of the distant past like Diego Maradona, JohCruyffuff and the mythical Pele.
While it might almost be impossible to classify one athlete over the other due to differing eras and sports rules, we can only infer based on career paths and achievements. In this piece, with five reasons, we shall be making a compelling case for Ronaldo to be considered the greatest athlete in history across all professional sports.
#5 Longevity at the top
Cristiano Ronaldo transferred to Manchester United in 2003 and the club's mega status meant that the Portuguese teenager was thrust into the limelight instantly, with United's pedigree expecting the club to win all the matches and trophies which they contested for.
This is the pressure associated with being a top-level footballer playing on a world class level and it is a scenario which Ronaldo has found himself in since making that leap from Sporting Lisbon to Manchester United aged 19.
Incredibly, the 34-year-old has not only thrived at the highest level but continues to do so even into the fourth decade of his life.
The average footballer (other sports included) spends an average of five to seven years at the highest level before they start to take a decline, but Ronaldo seems to be an anomaly, not only defying this logic but seemingly getting better with age.
Ronaldo turned 34 a few days ago, but continues to not only perform at the highest level but also outperform those even much younger than him.
Despite playing in his fourth professional league, Ronaldo currently finds himself top of the scorer's charts in Serie A, while he has also broken a number of records as he leads the charge to guide Juventus to her eighth consecutive Scudetto triumph.
Only a handful of athletes in any sport (arguably none in football) can claim to match the longevity Cristiano Ronaldo has had at the highest level and for this reason, he can genuinely lay claim to being the greatest athlete in the history of professional sports.