Asking any random person the position of Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch, the most likely answer would be that Cristiano Ronaldo is a Centre Forward, This could be difficult to argue considering the number of goals Cristiano has slammed into the back of the net in the last 15 years of his career. Truthfully, Ronaldo is versatile enough to play any attacking position on the field and that's a good reason why he has been considered the Greatest Footballer of all time.
Ronaldo began his career as a left-winger in Sporting Lisbon before his tricky and mesmerizing run attracted him to Manchester United through Sir Alex Ferguson. He began his Old Trafford career off the bench and was often deployed on the flanks mostly on the right. With his goalscoring and aerial ability discovered, Ronaldo remained a winger but was used differently from the traditional wingers to make more runs into the box to connect to crosses from Saha or from whoever played on the other flank. He was sometimes used in a double striking partnership with Tevez or Rooney, sometimes Rooney dropping off to the flank in a dynamic way, making Ronaldo score a lot of goals in the later years of his first stint at Old Trafford including a 31 goals golden boot winning season alongside a European Golden shoe that same season.
Ronaldo's move to Real Madrid saw him play more of his games on the left wing which allows him to cut to his right, which seems to be his stronger foot and score incredible goals. He was deployed to playoff Raul, Van Nistelrooy, Gonzalo Higuain, and later, Karim Benzema, He scored 26 goals the first season, just one off the club's highest goalscorer, Gonzalo Higuain, 40 goals the second season, 25 goals more than the second-placed, Karim Benzema.
He switched between the flanks at Real Madrid and was also deployed as a Centre Forward, creating space for Angel Di Maria. Anywhere Ronaldo played, He scored goals.
As he aged, His speed reduced, his pressing ability reduced, his skills diminished but his instinct remained and since he was able to remain fit, He was moved to being the main man up front. Real Madrid brought in Bale, Vasquez, Asensio rose from the academy, all to fill in the flanks and do the press while Ronaldo scores the goals.
He was also deployed in partnership with Karim Benzema and sometimes Karim could drop behind as a second striker. He had various talents behind him such as Mesut Ozil, Kaka, DiMaria to create chances which he would score. He scored over 500 goals in the Real Madrid shirt, becoming the club's highest goalscorer before his move to Juventus.
At Juventus, he remained a Centre Forward. For a man at 33, his work rate reduced despite his great physicality. He was good in the air, still had a great pace, had a good shooting ability and he was always in great positions to score goals.
Outshined Higuain at Real Madrid and repeated the same at Juventus. He played as the main man with Paulo Dybala behind and Bernardeschi and/or Chiesa on the flanks, In 3 seasons he scored 100 goals for the club, achieving that before Paulo Dybala who had been at Juventus earlier.
He currently plays as a Centre Forward for Manchester United and has scored 5 goals in as many games. His arrival has moved Greenwood to the flanks and on few occasions, we have seen Cavani paired Ronaldo off the bench.
Despite being 36, Ronaldo has proved age is just a number as he remains one of the biggest players in the game despite his deteriorating physical state. He has evolved to remain a goalscorer replacing his speed with his positioning, his skills and set-piece abilities with his aerial threat, and his dribbling with his experience. Knowing this, For the next two seasons, we are still likely to see Ronaldo bang in a lot of goals.
That is why he is the greatest of all time.
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