“When you play with Ronaldo on your team, you are already 1-0 up.” – Zinedine Zidane
"He's not having a good game" I said to myself, as I watched the young 22 year old Cristiano Ronaldo pick himself up after being smashed by the Fulham defender. 87 minutes have been played, the game is deadlocked, the Premier League title chase will slip on two points dropped. Craven Cottage the home of Fulham is a buzz with tension and good old raw tribal crowd energy. However, something's changed in Ronaldo. The tackle has awoken an instinctive extra push of controlled anger, grit and motivation to change the game and win.
Ronaldo, wide on the left touchline, 10 meters inside his own half. receives the ball and immediately bursts forward with composed electrifying speed. He skips past one tackle, then still hugging the touchline evades a wild slide tackle aimed to take him out. You can see the mission, absolute determination and confidence, that nothing's going to stop me. It’s a feeling if you're lucky as a player you have felt. You recognise it and now you are running with him as he reaches the edge of the box and faces up a defender. It doesn't matter, a slight drop of the foot and shoulder to the left and skip to the right and the defenders gone. Cristiano has opened up on his right foot and still without a break in pace, smashes a driven laces shot beyond the keeper into the far corner. It's the winner, the game changer, the difference between winning and not. The celebrations are ecstatic on the pitch and bench. Viewers have witnessed something special and in some ways scary in how powerful and above the normal this was.
Ronaldo will go on to win 5 Champion Leagues, 30 major trophies, a Euro with Portugal and multitudes of personal awards. He’ll be described as the best, or one of the best players ever by legends across the globe, past and present. What a talent he is and a player who has repeated feats like the goal above that I recall so strongly, again, again and again, in England, Spain, Italy and on the International stage.
When you put together an individual skills program as we have done at One2pro for young players to learn. Ronaldo can be seen in youtube videos excelling and demonstrating almost all of them. His speed of feet movement on the ball is quite phenomenal. When you see his legovers, foot hovers and the explosion from slow to electric speed, you simply say how? None of that happens by accident. Cristiano is known for fantastic dedication to practice, practice, practice. The use of ankle weights as a young player, whilst practicing tricks and moves, has helped him increase the speed of movement to what appear unnatural speeds. Who does that? Well he does! As I say to young players, if you want to be the best, that is the level of competition and dedication to improvement you are up against. So copy it, learn from it and use it.
If you are looking for a Ronaldo skill that isn't one of the more obvious ones we see from him, head to Module 11, 'Roll and Legover'. The disguise in the eyes direction and body shape are pretty cool and something you will only see from the very top players in the game.
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Have fun, happy playing!