Cristiano Ronaldo is the LeBron James of football
The parallels between two of the biggest stars in world sport have rarely been greater.
Cristiano Ronaldo and LeBron James are two stars who transcend their individual sports of football and basketball and are recognisable the world over.
There are striking similarities between their successful careers and current predicaments.
Cristiano Ronaldo is not done setting records which will stand for years to come.
He is the all time international record goalscorer with 115 goals for Portugal. He is also the all time Champions League record goalscorer with 140, and has more than 800 career goals.
LeBron James’ records are too many to mention. He is the only player in NBA history to record 10,000 points and 9,000 assists.
He also is the only NBA player ever to score 10 or more points in 1,000 consecutive games, and has the most all-time play-off points and wins. LeBron is also the highest points scorer in regular season and play-off points combined in history, with more than 36,000.
Battle to be considered the greatest
The numbers Ronaldo and James have racked up gives each an argument to be considered the greatest player their respective sports have ever produced.
In each players’ case, their success is the product of relentless hard work and dedication, which has enabled their consistency and longevity into their mid-30s at the top of their game.
But when it comes to being considered the greatest, it is not so simple, with compelling arguments for other players.
Diego Maradona in football terms was considered a genius and a class above, while Ronaldo’s rival Lionel Messi has matched him throughout his career and then some.
All LeBron James’ individual stats and records still leave him short of Michael Jordan, who won six NBA finals from six attempts. LeBron has been to the finals 10 times, but only won four.
Even in this generation of players, some consider Steph Curry a more natural basketball genius, the Messi to LeBron’s Ronaldo who the purists prefer.
Ronaldo it could be argued has left some trophies on the table too. While he can’t be blamed for not winning the World Cup with Portugal, winning just two La Liga titles from nine seasons at Real Madrid is a disappointing return, even taking into account his four Champions League trophies during this time.
Both Ronaldo and LeBron will be remembered as great for generations. But neither are the slam-dunk ‘greatest ever’ both aspire to be.
Fading force in bad team
Each player is their team’s respective top scorer, but sadly for both players, age is now catching up and rendering them no longer so dominant. Each of them find their troubles compounded by bad situations.
It is hard to know which player is in the worst team right now, Manchester United or the LA Lakers.
United are a basket case of a club right now, and have an uphill battle to qualify for the Champions League next season. Winning the Premier League has never seemed more distant.
LeBron’s Lakers are in a tough spot too. They may not even make the playoffs this year. If they do, a swift elimination is expected once they come up against a better team.
With both players surrounded by underperforming and ill-fitting teammates, each of Ronaldo and LeBron could each push for a fresh start and a move away this summer.
LeBron’s form is currently holding up better than Ronaldo’s, who is on a goal drought right now. But he is no longer the player who can single-handedly drag a poor team to the finals, let alone the play-offs.
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