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There's no pleasing everyone, we accept. But sometimes things happen that silence even the fiercest critics. Last season, we think that Cristiano Ronaldo has done just that...

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By Arkaprabha Chakraborty

How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man? What does Cristiano Ronaldo need to do to prove to his critics that he can and indeed, is the best footballer currently on the planet? Maybe he isn't as skilful as, well, his only rival Lionel Messi, but in terms of impact? Far and away the best.


Sudden Impact | No one was better at being both saviour & entertainer last season

What is it about Ronaldo that irks and irritates us? Several say that it is his attitude. His arrogance. His selfishness. His desire for the limelight. His preening. His showboating. His diving and playacting. The fact that he is playing under Jose Mourinho, not a very liked although definitely admired figure himself. The reasons we've heard have been endless and they grow more and more ridiculous as they try to justify away the man's raw ability.

It is really strange how people view the fight as a sort of good versus evil where Ronaldo is inevitably the evil one. But it's not very hard to see why either. The romantic image of a boy-next-door figure standing up to and beating the tall, strong, narcissistic overlord is one that's hard to not see.

But for better or for worse, it is the seemingly 'evil' Ronaldo who has been the better man through the season recently concluded and in the international afterburn. Oh definitely he hasn't scored as many as Messi, but especially in a game like football, shouldn't it be quality over quantity every time? A friend of mine reflectively told me after the Champions League semi-finals, "They (Barcelona) can keep their 100-plus Xavi passes. I'd take those two passes (which released Ramires to assist in the first leg and for him to score in the second) from Lampard any day." That, in essence, is what we need to look at.


One pass to beat 'em all | We saw the importance of quality in the CL

Of those 60 goals he banged in last season leading Madrid to their first La Liga in nearly a half decade, five of them were winners and five others were equalizers and in at least 3 games he was the sole scorer for Real Madrid. For all those who watched the Euros, barring one game against Denmark, he practically hauled a quite indifferent Portugal team into the semis and held their own against the all conquering Iberian rivals Spain. If that isn't impact, there must be strange new definitions of the word flying about.

At the end of it all, what we would really like to say is that you should judge a footballer by his football. Maybe he's not a complete role model in terms of attitude, but maybe he really doesn't need to be. It is baffling that we attach a moral responsibility to his ability as a footballer. He does what he is paid to do, be a difference maker in games and he does what we pay to see him do, make that difference in style.


What MORE do you want? | People forget that Ronaldo ticks all boxes as a player

If we just lowered our expectations of all that we want Cristiano Ronaldo to be outside the game, off the pitch, we might just not be blinded to what an awe-inspiring presence he is on it. There will remain critics no matter what the man does, but this time, maybe just this time, for this award they should lack any justification to the contrary. And it's best to stay silent in those situations where you have nothing to say. Cristiano Ronaldo deserves to be acknowledged the best on the planet last season and he has been by Goal.com. And that is all.

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