In today’s Game Breakers feature Soccer Laduma looks at Cristiano Ronaldo, arguably one of the two best footballers of our generation.
The Portugal captain has played an outstanding club season at Real Madrid. Despite not reaching his overall goal-scoring record, Ronaldo scored when it mattered most this year.
His 17 Champions League goals were instrumental in Real Madrid’s tenth European Cup triumph and broke the all-time record for most goals in a single season of the competition.
He finished the La Liga with 31 goals, tying Luis Suarez for the European Golden Shoe.
Arguably his most important goals came in Portugal's World Cup playoff against Sweden, when his four goals literally single-footedly ensured the 4-2 victory on aggregate.
His World Cup record, however, is not as flourishing as many would expect. In 2006, a 21-year-old Ronaldo scored only one goal in the group stages, but also Portugal’s fifth penalty to eliminate England in the quarter-final.
He couldn’t prevent Portugal from losing 1-0 to a Zinedine Zidane-inspired France in the semi-final and also didn’t shine in the third-place playoff defeat against Germany.
In 2010, he again scored only one goal and despite being voted Man of the Match in all three group matches he wasn’t able to prevent Portugal’s Round of 16 exit against eventual winners Spain.
However, the 29-year-old is his country’s leading all-time scorer with 49 goals and has been Portugal's captain since 2008.
He has been struggling with injuries based on muscular fatigue in the latter parts of the season and could not play in Portugal’s World Cup build-up matches, yet.
It seems, though, as if he will be fit to play Portugal’s World Cup opening match against Germany on 16 June, but he might not reach 100 percent for the tournament in Brazil.
Nevertheless, his countrymen hope he can still emulate the brilliance of the great Eusebio who led Portugal to their best-ever World Cup finish (third place) with nine goals in 1966.
Do you think Cristiano Ronaldo can still be Portugal’s game breaker at the World Cup? Have you say in the comment section below.