38 going on 54

At 38 years old, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 54 goals in 2023, more than any other player in the world.
Student News Agency, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

No one has scored more goals in 2023 than Cristiano Ronaldo. The 38-year-old maestro has shattered expectations tallying up a staggering 54 goals. 

Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2023 with Al Nassr has been nothing short of a fairy tale. Ronaldo has been the beating heart of the club’s success. from leading Al Nassr to victory in the Arab Club Champions Cup while scoring in the final against Al Hilal, to consistently being the protagonist for the team on a day-to-day basis. His ability to turn games around, to inspire comebacks, and to be the decisive factor in close encounters, has seen him grow not just as a player, but as a leader for the Saudi side.

Tasnim News Agency, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

To understand the gravity of Ronaldo’s achievements, one must understand the story of CR7. Born Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro on February 5, 1985, in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, he has journeyed through the world of football for over two decades and has engraved his name into the history of football.

From his humble beginnings at Sporting to the glory at Manchester United, the peak of his career at Real Madrid, a courageous move to Juventus, a brief return to Manchester United, and his current chapter at Al Nassr, Ronaldo’s career is a saga of relentless ambition and unparalleled success. His accolades include multiple UEFA Champions League titles and five Ballon d’Or awards. Beyond trophies and individual awards, nothing can encapsulate the influence and inspiration he has been to an entire generation.

Fars Media Corporation, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

In a year where he turned 38, scoring 54 goals is not just remarkable; it’s a feat that defies the conventional norms of an athlete’s peak. To put this into perspective, Lionel Messi, another contemporary great, scored an impressive 28 goals in the same period. While Messi’s achievement is noteworthy, Ronaldo’s tally, achieved in the Saudi Pro League which is far more competitive than the MLS, speaks volumes about his adaptability and relentless motivation.

The narrative of Ronaldo’s success becomes even more compelling when compared with the achievements of players much younger than him. Stars like Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland, at the peak of their youth, scored 52 and 50 goals. Ronaldo not only outscored them but also displayed a level of fitness and skill that would make anyone want to double-check his birth certificate. This comparison isn’t just about numbers; it’s about the ability to stay at the top, to compete with the best, despite the so-called ‘barriers’ of age.

Ronaldo’s 2023 is a loud response to his critics and a stark contrast to his challenging 2022 at Manchester United, where he faced unfair treatment and limited playing time. His move to Al Nassr wasn’t just a change of clubs; it was a reaffirmation of his undiminished skill and spirit.

Student News Agency, CC BY 4.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Cristiano Ronaldo, at 38, has not just defied age; he has rewritten the narrative of what’s possible in the twilight of a footballer’s career. With 54 goals in a calendar year, he has once again stamped his authority as one of the greatest players to have ever graced the beautiful game.

 His story is not just about a comeback; it’s about the triumph of enduring class, of aging like wine and Ronaldo seems to only be getting better with time. 

In a world obsessed with the next big thing, Ronaldo’s message is clear – even at 38, no one in the world is better than him at what he he does best.

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Nathan Azevedo Espindula
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