Cristiano Ronaldo is a very driven footballer and by the time he hangs up bis boots he wants to be remembered as the greatest ever to play the game. He has worked really hard and is on track to fulfill his ambition. He is playing better than ever before and the victories are coming in the bucket loads. Real Madrid is so settled and is playing so good that the club is looking forward to one of the best runs in its history. But it doesn’t bode well to Cristiano’s personal ambition.
The simple reason is Real Madrid is not dependent on Cristiano any more. When Cristiano is not playing, Jese can easily step into his shoes and no one will miss Cristiano. And mind you, Jese is very much a local hero and his finishing seems to be better than Cristiano himself. Sometimes you mistake Jese for Cristiano when he is on his run. And while Cristiano seems stoppable by well knitted defenses, Jese seems to be able to find a way. Jese is also in the form of his life and he is just blossoming into a A-team footballer.
The all round ability of Real Madrid has improved so much that Cristiano is no more the fulcrum of the team. Carlo Ancelotti has really made Real Madrid the star and spread his bets on more than one player. The team has really gelled well and the results are plainly visible. Ancelotti will need Cristiano one more season until Jese proves his extended reliability. And then the ability of recouping some of the transfer fee shelled out for Cristiano will start diminishing.
So where does all of this leave Cristiano in Real Madrid? He can be part of one of the greatest teams in history, much like the era defining Barcelona three years ago, but the glory will have to be shared with the likes of Bale, Jese, and even Benzema. His fate is just about to turn like Ribery of Bayern Munich – an important part of a great team. There is nothing wrong in that. That is the objective of any team sport. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work like that.
Cristiano doesn’t need the wages on the pitch to stay as the top earning footballer. As long as he is playing well the endorsements will ensure he is the top earner. What he needs is a team that is good enough but will not be top dog without Cristiano on the pitch.
Is Cristiano willing to live on shared glory with his teammates in Real Madrid and have the life of an unchallenged Galatico or is he made of sterner stuff and really wants to establish himself as a true legend? Only Cristiano can answer.
There is a fork down the road. The question is, do you take it?