Real Madrid legend Ronaldo Nazario is widely regarded as one of the most talented footballers of all time. The mercurial striker burst onto the scene as a teenage sensation at PSV Eindhoven and represented some of the biggest clubs in the world, including the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, AC Milan and Inter Milan.
Despite being blighted by injuries for club and country, Ronaldo shattered several goalscoring records in his illustrious career and retired in 2011 as an all-time great.
When asked who was the greatest player he shared the pitch with (quotes via SportBible), Ronaldo named former Real Madrid teammate Zinedine Zidane, with whom he shared the pitch from 2002 till 2006.
"Zizou [Zidane] has been the best player I have trained and played with. And now he has become a coach and won three Champions Leagues in a row. That is why today I ask myself: 'Who is better, Zidane the player or Zidane the coach? But I can't answer."
Ronaldo names legendary trio as reference points while growing up
Ronaldo also named Marco van Basten, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff and Zico as his idols.
"Marco Van Basten for sure. From a very young age I watched Italian football and paid special attention to this player. [Diego] Maradona and [Johan] Cruyff, too. And Zico, of course, because he played for Flamengo and I was a fan of that team."
"I tried to take something from all of them and ultimately I can say that I am proud of the career I have had"
Hailed for his goalscoring prowess, Ronaldo admitted that he had all the necessary tools to succeed in another position.
"Sometimes I played as a second striker, but I always saw myself up top in the center. It was like that."
"Maybe I could have played in the '10' position, but I always preferred to be close to the box, where I knew I was the most dangerous. I was so in love with my position as a number 9."
The Brazilian great has left his mark in the beautiful game and retired from professional football in 2011. However, he continues to be associated with the beautiful game and is the majority owner of La Liga outfit Real Valladolid.
Published 17 Dec 2020, 19:45 IST