Is Cristiano Ronaldo the best player in the world?

January 14, 2008

Cristiano Ronaldo

“Cristiano Ronaldo is not only the best player in the world…but probably the single most gifted player to play in England since the Belfast Boy….What a *so and so* player. I am in awe…”

So wrote the curiously named Pimpy the Magic Elf on the RedCafe message board after Cristiano Ronaldo scored three of Manchester United’s six goals in Saturday’s second half demolition of Newcastle.

So just how good is Ronaldo? On current form, he must surely be the world’s best.

He’s always had the skill, talent, and particularly in the aftermath of that wink, the attitude to excel. Over the past season and a half however, he’s maximised these attributes to become more indispensable than any other player.

The statistics are staggering. His 25 goals in all competitions last season led him to an unprecedented clean sweep of England’s three major individual honours. This term he’s scored 22 in all competitions, with 16 coming in the league. And remember, he’s a winger and it’s still January.

Comparatively, it gets scarier. He’s already scored as many Premier League goals (51) as Steven Gerrard and is fast catching the league’s highest scoring midfielders Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes (95). His team mates took a combined 737 games to reach their totals. Ronaldo has almost averaged a goal every other game in his 112.

But the best since Belfast Boy George Best?

There’s still a bit to go. Question marks remain over a failure to yet light up the latter stages of the Champions League as Kaka did last season or indeed Best 39 years earlier. Despite performing well in major tournaments for Portugal, he was found wanting in both their Euro 2004 final and World Cup 2006 semi-final exits.

But you just get the feeling all that could change in the coming months. With United on course to crack the Champions League again and Euro 2008 on the horizon, he is on the verge of reaching the kind of heights last scaled by Zinedine Zidane 10 years ago.

First he must celebrate a birthday in February. His 23rd. That is perhaps the most frightening statistic of all.

Click here to read an envy-filled tribute to Ronaldo by Mitch Phillips, but please leave your comments about the Manchester United maestro below.

Padraic Halpin, London

PHOTO: Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring his third goal in Manchester United’s 6-0 win over Newcastle United in the Premier League, Jan 12 REUTERS/Phil Noble


We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see



Now this is a post I (reluctantly) have to agree with. The most desirable player on the planet right now.

Posted by davex | Report as abusive

he goes missing in big games and has done nothing on the international stage. beckham was once getting these tributes and hes a posterboy not a footballer. he did nothing in facup final, champions league, games against arsenal and liverpool add to that he is arrogant. just look at his picture. aside from being mediocre he is not a good sportsman. do not ever compare him to ZIDANE, PLATINI, LUIS RONALDO, MARADONA, PELE, BAGGIO, MALDINI, CRUYFF & BECKENBAUER who are true greats.
by the way george best only played 7-8 years at manu and had a terrible lifestyle of the pitch and in between best and ronaldo was henry who was better than both and more gifted.
george best and ronaldo should not be praised as they are bad role models for kids.

PS: ronaldo is a one trick pony and no prizes for guessing the trick (~stepover~). he was boxed by maldini in 4 games against milan, oddo boxed him, abidal of france and on some occasions a cole did to.

Posted by ahmad | Report as abusive

CRonaldo is the best right now….in some years from now people are going to look back and say woow, he was the best from that time. right now…people are in denial..they dont whant to believe his the best. people are waiting for rooney to be the best… but i got to say what my eyes see and rooney has a long way to go to get to ronaldo level. and theres no question let Best be the best from his time, like Maradona and Pele in theyr time. this is now 2008 and ronaldo is the best.

Posted by Kevin | Report as abusive

Everyone has their own but if you leave rivalry aside and tad jealousy out, Ronaldo is the best in the world for last year and half.

Wonder what he will get for this year’s statistics? May be 3in European player awards? and 10th in Fifa? YOu never know. Ridiculous he doesn’t get appreciated by the trophy outside England.

Posted by Ena | Report as abusive

Hi Ena. I think it all depends on how he does at Euro 2008. If he carries his current form into the tournament, and sees Portugal through to the final, say, I think there’s an excellent chance he’ll scoop the two big awards at the end of the year. He doesn’t look to have a lot of competition at the moment.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

ronaldo is simply dazzling me at the moment – i thought i would never see a player to rival henry in the EPL but this is the one – if he stays at ManU for another 5 years he will become the biggest legend in our leagues history and will definately settle the comparisons with BEst debate. lets face it, it was so much easier to beat players back in 60s and 70s – there was so much space – ronaldo has everything – no weakness whatsoever and great courage (bigger than henry on this score) – PROBLEM IS HE’LL BE IN SPAIN NEXT YEAR – THE CAMP NOU AND BERNABEAU ARE BIGGER THEATRES THAN OLD TRAFFORD – i lived in spain for 10 years and us insular brits tend to get carried away by our own importance – the streets dont get deserted when arsenal play manu and this happens all around spain when barca play madrid – football is simply bigger and more important over there
-ive only got one reservation about ronaldo – english defences are renowned as being the least organised and most naive – how would ronny fair playing italian defences week in week out?

Posted by jono rolfe | Report as abusive

Heck no he isn’t. What is your problems? He happened to get a few good amounts of red and yellows already. He cheats. He is good at scoring but has a total of two assist as a winger. With fowards like Rooney and Tevez, he would be much better to give up his scoring oppurtunities and make the best out of them with good vision.

He also happens to suck when it comes to going agianst good defenders. More than have of his goals are agains the bottom five teams, like Derby.

Cesc Fabregas has a much worse supporting cast team, Arsenal, and yet they are in first place. Reason? He makes the most of everyone. He isn’t the whole team, but he is the pinnacle, the top, the ruling one that puts everyone to their 100%

Ibrahamovic is going insane as well. In Series A, they are going undefeated with 17 wins. It isn’t him himself, but he definantly sets the plays and makes the unbelievable happen. He also shoots like a monster.

Posted by Jae Choi | Report as abusive

Cristiano is by far the best player in the world come on who gets booed most games at the beginning of a season and delivers 23 goals in a season in response … and not only scores 23 in one season for his club but keeps his outstanding form and also takes it to a further level.. Not only 32 goals this season and counting saves the team vital points to improve their standings on their run for the title and Champions league.Not to mention levels Best’s 40 year record of 32 goals for a winger for united but goes a step further to currently have 33 goals when the season is not even over ….. Sure other players like Torres and Fabregas are playing fantastic football but Ronaldo is at a diffrent level than any lad today…… Not only does he score but produces chances for the team and is a fascinating player to watch he takes football to a diffrent level … So if you say he is not the best I do not know what else you can get from a player……

Posted by ......... | Report as abusive

I think christiano ronaldo is not the best player in the world.I think he is right behind kaka so that makes him second but kaka has lost his confidence so ronaldo might sneak in front of him this year.But i hope kaka will still be the best this year

Posted by munashe | Report as abusive

ronaldo is far more better than messi and kaka.ronaldo has scored many goals in these two season than these world cup kaka and messi were eliminated at an early stage and people still say that they are better than ronaldo.ronaldo is on top of the premiership and still in the champions league than kaka nor messi.

people should believe that ronaldo is better than kaka and messi. kaka is out of the champions league and messi is still in the champions league neither of these two is in the champions league at the same time on top of the table than ronaldo only.

ronaldo is the best when you compare the three kaka ,messi,and ronaldo.playing in champions league at the same time on top of the table.

no one is better than ronaldo..

so far so good that if you compair kaka and messi to ronaldo i think its a mess in otherwards there no other people to be compaired with ronaldo apart from these two.

Cristiano Ronaldo scores 30+ goals; rotating from wing to striker, and now he is in the same league as Maradona and Pele. What utter rubbish!

I can’t remember him performing against a major opposition; and please don’t tell me Cristiano Ronaldo is a genius, he’s a goal poacher at best.

You people should take something into account before you agree with the english media. That is Cristiano Ronaldo’s stats this season.

Cristiano Ronaldo 07/08
39 games
37 goals
7 assists
227 shots taken
117 shots on target

Now let’s compare his stats to another midfielder, but who is 3 years younger.

Messi 07/08
27 games
15 goals
14 assists
75 shots taken
38 shots on target

Comparing both stats you can see the real truth. Cristiano Ronaldo is definately an upgraded Frank Lampard, and I would take Messi, Kaka, Henry, and the real best player when on form Ronaldinho any day. The only fools who wont accept the truth are the ones who are blind, and those who support Man U.

Pele and Maradona are the greatest along with players like Maldini, Cruyff, Beckenbauer, Zico, the real Ronaldo, and Zidane. There are reasons for this. They have done it all.

Ok! you can’t compare the football back in those days to todays. However, back in Pele’s day, the Brazilian League apparently was the best league in the world, and also back then they did not have the same fitness training as the ones we have now. Also back then alot of footballer drank alcohol before a match, and they also played with a football that was heavy and hard, and with boots that weren’t crafted by the nike team for accuracy, precision, and power.

With todays advancements Pele and Maradona would have been better.

Comparing Cristiano Ronaldo to Pele and Maradona is like comparing Allen Iverson to Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

cristiano Ilove you my hazband Iam tina ancic


of course he is…he has approved that…42 goals in the season….the best player and the nicest..i love him…forever

Posted by mica | Report as abusive

Just writing this 11 or so months later to insist that Cristiano Ronaldo is by far the best the game has ever seen. With a virtually guaranteed Ballon on the horizon, it will be a clean sweep for the boy from Madeira Portugal. Even after his recent surgery, he’s already back on track. He is simply phenomenal.

you are the best that know all people ? this is true ronaldo ?you play veryy wellll

Posted by ronaldo | Report as abusive

We all know that Cristiano Ranaldo is the best soccer player in the world! Im his biggest fan! Anyone that talks bad about him, well they SUCK! I have seen his dribbling his moves his goals, and on news thay said he won the first best player! He and his team manchester United are going play with barcelona, which i know Machester United will win and Cristiano Ranaldo will make the goals for the Finals! C. RANALDO YOU ARE THE BEST SOCCER PLAYER IN THE WORLD AND NOBODY WILL BEAT YOU UP, AND I AM YOU’RE BIGGEST FAN FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  !!!

Posted by Jasmine | Report as abusive

Since moving to Real Ronaldo has fallen out of the limelight a little, and Messi seems to be grabbing all the headlines.

Spangle is admin on http://www,

Posted by Spangle | Report as abusive