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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Pichichi bet is an example of the supreme confidence that has made him a legend

The Real Madrid superstar told his team-mates he would finish as La Liga's top scorer back when he was ten goals behind Lionel Messi

Is there enough room on the internet for a few more words about the brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo?

Four months ago, the vultures were circling over the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Memes about him having more kids than league goals flooded the internet (and we admit we posted a couple of our own) were supplemented by more earnest discussions about whether he was suffering an irreversible decline.

“He’s finished,” they said

Reuters
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“He’s finished,” they said

The stats made for brutal reading.

Ronaldo’s conversion rate made him the least clinical finisher in Europe’s top five leagues and by mid-November he had just one La Liga goal to show for his efforts.

Most players would have kept their head down in training; many would have suffered a crisis of confidence.

But Ronaldo is not like most players.

According to Marca, at the height of his struggles, the Portuguese forward made a bet with his team-mates that he would win the Pichichi award (Spain’s equivalent of the Golden Boot).

At that stage, he was ten goals behind his long-time rival, Lionel Messi.

A cakewalk for Leo. Or is it?

REUTERS
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A cakewalk for Leo. Or is it?

If it was anyone else, you’d think he was joking.

Ronaldo doesn’t joke about scoring goals — that’s serious business to him.

Now here we are, mid-March, and despite the fact Messi has continued to find the net with regularity, Ronaldo is just three goals behind Barcelona’s No10.

Real Madrid’s all-time top scorer has scored 17 goals in his last eight games.

Even by his standards, that is a phenomenal streak of goalscoring.

50 career hat-tricks. 50. Count to 50 right now and tell us that’s not utterly obscene

Getty - Contributor
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50 career hat-tricks. 50. Count to 50 right now and tell us that’s not utterly obscene

With Ronaldo in particularly devastating form, the race for the Pichichi is is set to be a key feature for the remainder of the season.

Real Madrid’s hopes of defending their league title may have died long ago but and Ronaldo may well win his bet with his team-mates, as the smallest of consolations.

While some may have accused Ronaldo of being arrogant, or possibly even delusional, at the time of the wager, it’s his unbridled self-confidence which has led to his resurgence in form.

Go on, do the noise

AFP OR LICENSORS
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Go on, do the noise

Ronaldo believes he is the greatest player to ever play the game, he’s said it openly many times.

Such unwavering belief has allowed him to prove his doubters wrong, again.

It’s this same attitude, encouraged by Sir Alex Ferguson at Man United, that led to him transform from a skinny, stepover-obsessed winger, to the most insatiable goalscorer of his generation.

The fire still burns

PA:Press Association
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The fire still burns

Most of us would have mocked Ronaldo’s bet because it seemed impossible at the time.

Ronaldo has never recognised the word impossible.

He may not overtake Messi by the end of the season but, at the age of 33, he’s reminded everyone that he is not to be underestimated in any capacity.


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