We are often forced to rely on the supernatural when describing sportspeople who are just so much better than everyone else.
Their talent requires an entirely new set of superlatives, different to those used for mere mortals.
That’s why so often we struggle for words when asked about the mercurial talent of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo continues to bang in the goals for Juventus – will he ever stop?
And perhaps that’s why his Portugal teammate Pepe described him as an ‘alien’ who ‘doesn’t have blood’.
Over a staggering 18-year career, which is still going strong, the Portuguese goal machine has achieved numbers which simply beggar belief.
Staggeringly, he has scored more than 700 goals for club and country, helping Manchester United, Real Madrid, and now Juventus to numerous titles.
If it wasn’t for his long-standing adversary, Lionel Messi, Ronaldo would have dominated world football on his own for an entire era.
Is he all that? Jason Cundy insists Pele ‘wasn’t as good as Messi and Ronaldo
Instead of throwing the 35-year-old into the greatest-of-all-time debate, where he belongs, we question whether he is even the best of his generation.
But despite the unfortunate intertwining of his spectacular career with Messi’s, there are still many who consider Ronaldo the greatest ever to grace the game.
From George Best to Pele, here’s what some of the most legendary figures in football (and Ian Holloway) have said about him down the years…
Cristiano Ronaldo has done so much in his brilliant career
Another man who knew a thing or two about scoring goals. The Portugal icon bagged 733 in 745 appearances.
Luckily, he got to see plenty of Ronaldo, the successor to his throne, before his death in 2014.
“He has magic in his boots. The first thing you notice about him is that he is incredibly quick and very, very powerful for such a young man.
“He has great, close control and his technique is excellent. He believes he can do anything with the ball, and that confidence makes him very special indeed.”
Ronaldo is Portugal’s greatest ever goalscorer with 99 international goals, Eusebio is third with 41
Luis Figo
Portugal legends must be sick of Ronaldo coming along and breaking all their records.
Figo made the most appearances for Portugal (127) before CR7 came along.
However, he has nothing but respect for the player who overtook him…
“Ronaldo can do whatever he wants as a player. There are some things he does with the ball that make me touch my head and wonder how he did it.”
Ronaldo has appeared 164 times for Portugal and looks set to feature at the rescheduled Euro 2020 next summer
George Best
Ronaldo earns the highest respect from pretty much everyone, wherever he goes.
But at Manchester United, the respect of some means more than others.
The legendary Best was certainly one of those people.
“There have been a few players described as the new George Best over the years, but this is the first time it’s been a compliment to me.”
George Best knew Ronaldo was the real deal early on
Sir Bobby Charlton
Another Manchester United legend worth listening to is Sir Bobby Charlton.
The England icon has seen it all, but he was still wowed by Ronaldo’s brilliance.
“He does things I have never seen from any other player and it really is marvellous to watch. It takes a great player to grab the bull by the horns and make things happen, but he has done it repeatedly.”
It takes something truly special to wow the great Sir Bobby Charlton
Without turning this into a monotonous ‘Messi vs Ronaldo’ debate, Pele has always put the Portuguese forward over his Argentine rival.
Back in 2014, the Brazil icon said: “Ronaldo has come through for the past two or three years and is the best in Europe. I think at the moment no doubt Ronaldo is the best player.”
And just last month, Pele reaffirmed his view that a 35-year-old Ronaldo remains the best.
He said: “Today the best player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo.
“I think hes the best because hes more consistent, but you cant forget about [Lionel] Messi, of course, but hes not a striker.
But does that make Ronaldo better than Pele himself? Not a chance, according to, erm, Pele.
“It is a question that is difficult to answer. We cannot forget about Zico, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo. And in Europe, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff.
“Now, its not my fault, but I think Pele was better than them all.”
Pele is a big Ronaldo fan, but an even bigger Pele fan
Zinedine Zidane
During his Real Madrid career, it was a matter of when, not if, Ronaldo would score in any given match.
In fact, it was more a question of ‘how many’, given he averaged more than a goal per game in Spain.
That’s probably why his former manager, Zidane, said this about him…
When you play with Ronaldo on your team, you are already 1-0 up.
Ronaldo helped Zidane to three consecutive Champions League titles at Madrid
Jose Mourinho
The master tactician has managed most of the modern greats, with the exception of Messi.
But none of them made him speak the way he did about Ronaldo during his time at Madrid.
“He is the best. The best in the world, yes. Probably the best ever. I saw Maradona a couple of times. I never saw Pele. But Cristiano is amazing.
“This man is the best… Cristiano is a goals machine. He is an incredible player. He is like Zidane, there will never be another Ronaldo.”
Ronaldo left a lasting impression on Mourinho
Sir Alex Ferguson
The list of greats who emerged at Old Trafford under Sir Alex is truly endless.
Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney… we could go on.
But according to the iconic manager himself, Ronaldo could be the greatest of them all.
Weve had some great players at this club in my 20 years, but hes up with the best.
Sir Alex struck up a lasting friendship with Ronaldo at United
Ian Holloway
But no list of quotes on Ronaldo would be complete without this absolute gem from current Grimsby Town boss Ian Holloway.
“The kid makes you sick. He looks the part, he walks the part, he is the part. He’s six-foot something, fit as a flea, good-looking – he’s got to have something wrong with him…. Hopefully he’s hung like a hamster! That would make us all feel better!”
And that’s why we love Ian Holloway