Ronaldo vs Ronaldo: Real Madrid stars past and present both phenomenons, says Nuno Gomes

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There is clearly something in that name, with a former striker quick to talk up the qualities of two players with seven Ballons d'Or between them

Nuno Gomes believes that there is clearly something in the name Ronaldo, with Real Madrid stars of past and present boasting phenomenal talent.

The Brazilian icon of days gone by earned the nickname ‘O Fenomeno’ on the back of goalscoring exploits which delivered two World Cup winners’ medals and three World Player of the Year awards.

His namesake from the modern era has managed to scale similar heights, with Cristiano Ronaldo sending records tumbling on his way to collecting five Ballons d’Or.

Both men have been able to achieve icon status, with a man who played against and alongside two of the finest performers to have ever graced the game admitting that there is little to choose between the pair.

Former Portugal international Gomes told Goal: “I played against one who was one of the best ever, the Ronaldo phenomenon.

“His qualities were simply so impressive. I believe I have never seen a player like him in that position again.

“I played with Cristiano Ronaldo too, and I compare them a lot, despite the different physical and positioning issues.

“I saw things in Cristiano that I also saw in Ronaldo - explosion, speed dribbling. Ronaldo is one of the best of them all.”

Emulating Ronaldo will be nigh on impossible for the current crop of Portuguese talent, but the Euro 2016 champions did have high hopes for Renato Sanches.

He formed part of that European Championship-winning squad and landed the prestigious Golden Boy prize, but the 20-year-old has regressed since then – with a high-profile move to Bayern Munich and subsequent loan switch to Swansea City seeing him struggle for form and confidence.

Renato Sanches Portugal

Gomes said of a player he feels enjoyed too much, too soon: “I do not know if Bayern Munich was the best choice. But that is easy to say now.

“Renato did not do well in Germany, although I believe he can still play well at Bayern Munich.

“Despite being a great player, having been national champion with Benfica and in Europe with the Portuguese national team, we are talking about a player of only 20 years. These things can happen.

“The rise of Renato Sanches was very fast. I remember seeing him in the same season playing for the juniors and two weeks later being in team B, then another two weeks later making a debut in the main team, 15 days later playing a Champions League match, a few months later in the Portuguese team, then champion of Europe, then negotiating with Bayern. In the space of nine months everything changed. It's not easy.

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“Today we can say: 'Oh, if he had stayed another season at Benfica then things would be better'. That’s probably true.

“Playing two consecutive years in the Portuguese league better prepares players for other, more demanding challenges. But the offer arrived and Benfica could not refuse.

“Today Swansea is a good option for him. In football, sometimes it is better to take a step back and then take two steps forward.”

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