Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal during the Primera Liga match against Villarreal at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 1, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. Denis Doyle / Getty Images
Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid celebrates after scoring his team's opening goal during the Primera Liga match against Villarreal at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on March 1, 2015 in Madrid, Spain. DenisShow more

Cristiano Ronaldo’s consistent excellence raising standard of modern football greatness


Andy Mitten

When Cristiano Ronaldo converted his penalty in Real Madrid's 1-1 draw against Villarreal on Sunday, he not only notched up his 30th league goal of the season but became the first player to score 30 goals in five consecutive seasons in a major European league.

“I’m starting to struggle for words to do Ronaldo justice,” Gary Neville, his former teammate at Manchester United, told The National.

“We talk of Diego Maradona or Pele as gods in football. We’ll be talking about Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi the same in the future.”

It is the goal power of Ronaldo, along with Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, that resonates with Neville as the Portuguese forward continues to set records as he looks to help his side win the Primera Liga for the first time since 2012.

“When I was younger, my father and grandfather talked of the goalscoring feats of great former players like the former Everton forward Dixie Dean,” Neville said.

“They were numbers that nobody ever thought would be repeated, as if football was easier then. Yet Ronaldo and Messi are repeating these stupid numbers season after season.”

Ronaldo scored 41 league goals in 2010/11, his record rising to 46 a year later. He scored 34 times in the league in 2012/13 and last season he added another 31, which brought him the Pichichi trophy for the second time.

With 13 games of the current league campaign remaining, he has already broken the 30-goal barrier in the league and is favourite to retain the Pichichi, the award for the top goalscorer in Spain. He leads Messi by three goals.

Messi has won it three times to Ronaldo’s two, and one of them will win it this season as Neymar, Messi’s teammate, who is in third, lags 13 goals behind. Antoine Griezmann, the top scorer for the champions Atletico Madrid, has fewer than half of Ronaldo’s goals (14).

Ronaldo’s goals tally in European and domestic competitions, plus his international goals for Portugal, make his figures even more remarkable.

In all competitions, Ronaldo is consistently scoring an average of more than a goal per game, with a total of 41 goals scored in 38 appearances this season.

"He's a different player from the one I played with at United," Neville said. "He's a centre forward now, more efficient and a massive goalscorer. At United his game was still developing.

“By 2006/07 he reached a point where he was a winger who scored a lot of goals and who would become European Footballer of the Year.

“He can still play on the wing but he can destroy teams through the centre, too. His goal tally is out of his world.”

It is the fact that Ronaldo continues to play to a high level, despite the hype, expectation and adulation that comes his way due to his status, and playing for one of the biggest club's in the world, that continues to impress Neville.

“He’s consistently lived up to the highest expectations,” said Neville, who in addition to working as a television analyst also serves as an assistant coach with the England national team

“He was the most expensive player in the world and he justified that.

“He’s playing at Real Madrid where the expectations are so high and yet he’s fulfilling them. The only season he scored less than 30 league goals in Madrid was his first.

“Not only is he a great player but he’s a great person who is driven like you would not believe to be the very best.”

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UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

The Mandalorian season 3 episode 1

Director: Rick Famuyiwa

Stars: Pedro Pascal and Katee Sackhoff

Rating: 4/5 

The Specs

Price, base Dh379,000
Engine 2.9-litre, twin-turbo V6
Gearbox eight-speed automatic
Power 503bhp
Torque 443Nm
On sale now

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Emirates exiles

Will Wilson is not the first player to have attained high-class representative honours after first learning to play rugby on the playing fields of UAE.

Jonny Macdonald
Abu Dhabi-born and raised, the current Jebel Ali Dragons assistant coach was selected to play for Scotland at the Hong Kong Sevens in 2011.

Jordan Onojaife
Having started rugby by chance when the Jumeirah College team were short of players, he later won the World Under 20 Championship with England.

Devante Onojaife
Followed older brother Jordan into England age-group rugby, as well as the pro game at Northampton Saints, but recently switched allegiance to Scotland.

WHAT IS A BLACK HOLE?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS

Estijaba – 8001717 –  number to call to request coronavirus testing

Ministry of Health and Prevention – 80011111

Dubai Health Authority – 800342 – The number to book a free video or voice consultation with a doctor or connect to a local health centre

Emirates airline – 600555555

Etihad Airways – 600555666

Ambulance – 998

Knowledge and Human Development Authority – 8005432 ext. 4 for Covid-19 queries

The bio

Favourite book: Peter Rabbit. I used to read it to my three children and still read it myself. If I am feeling down it brings back good memories.

Best thing about your job: Getting to help people. My mum always told me never to pass up an opportunity to do a good deed.

Best part of life in the UAE: The weather. The constant sunshine is amazing and there is always something to do, you have so many options when it comes to how to spend your day.

Favourite holiday destination: Malaysia. I went there for my honeymoon and ended up volunteering to teach local children for a few hours each day. It is such a special place and I plan to retire there one day.

RECORD BREAKER

Youngest debutant for Barcelona: 15 years and 290 days v Real Betis
Youngest La Liga starter in the 21st century: 16 years and 38 days v Cadiz
Youngest player to register an assist in La Liga in the 21st century: 16 years and 45 days v Villarreal
Youngest debutant for Spain: 16 years and 57 days v Georgia
Youngest goalscorer for Spain: 16 years and 57 days
Youngest player to score in a Euro qualifier: 16 years and 57 days

Three ways to get a gratitude glow

By committing to at least one of these daily, you can bring more gratitude into your life, says Ong.

  • During your morning skincare routine, name five things you are thankful for about yourself.
  • As you finish your skincare routine, look yourself in the eye and speak an affirmation, such as: “I am grateful for every part of me, including my ability to take care of my skin.”
  • In the evening, take some deep breaths, notice how your skin feels, and listen for what your skin is grateful for.
TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

What is cystic fibrosis?
  • Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that affects the lungs, pancreas and other organs.
  • It causes the production of thick, sticky mucus that can clog the airways and lead to severe respiratory and digestive problems.
  • Patients with the condition are prone to lung infections and often suffer from chronic coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
  • Life expectancy for sufferers of cystic fibrosis is now around 50 years.
Red Joan

Director: Trevor Nunn

Starring: Judi Dench, Sophie Cookson, Tereza Srbova

Rating: 3/5 stars

The Book of Collateral Damage

Sinan Antoon

(Yale University Press)

STAY, DAUGHTER

Author: Yasmin Azad

Publisher: Swift Press

Available: Now

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

LOVE AGAIN

Director: Jim Strouse

Stars: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan, Celine Dion

Rating: 2/5

What is a black hole?

1. Black holes are objects whose gravity is so strong not even light can escape their pull

2. They can be created when massive stars collapse under their own weight

3. Large black holes can also be formed when smaller ones collide and merge

4. The biggest black holes lurk at the centre of many galaxies, including our own

5. Astronomers believe that when the universe was very young, black holes affected how galaxies formed

If you go

The flights

Emirates flies from Dubai to Seattle from Dh5,555 return, including taxes. Portland is a 260 km drive from Seattle and Emirates offers codeshare flights to Portland with its partner Alaska Airlines.

The car

Hertz (www.hertz.ae) offers compact car rental from about $300 per week, including taxes. Emirates Skywards members can earn points on their car hire through Hertz.

Parks and accommodation

For information on Crater Lake National Park, visit www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm . Because of the altitude, large parts of the park are closed in winter due to snow. While the park’s summer season is May 22-October 31, typically, the full loop of the Rim Drive is only possible from late July until the end of October. Entry costs $25 per car for a day. For accommodation, see www.travelcraterlake.com. For information on Umpqua Hot Springs, see www.fs.usda.gov and https://soakoregon.com/umpqua-hot-springs/. For Bend, see https://www.visitbend.com/.

Captain Marvel

Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

Starring: Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Jude Law,  Ben Mendelsohn

4/5 stars

Asia Cup Qualifier

Final
UAE v Hong Kong

TV:
Live on OSN Cricket HD. Coverage starts at 5.30am

Teams

Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan Shanwari, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Corey Anderson, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.

Honeymoonish

Director: Elie El Samaan

Starring: Nour Al Ghandour, Mahmoud Boushahri

Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Co Chocolat

Started: 2017

Founders: Iman and Luchie Suguitan

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Food

Funding: $1 million-plus

Investors: Fahad bin Juma, self-funding, family and friends

Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Consoles: PC, PlayStation
Rating: 2/5

TOURNAMENT INFO

Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier

Jul 3- 14, in the Netherlands
The top two teams will qualify to play at the World T20 in the West Indies in November

UAE squad
Humaira Tasneem (captain), Chamani Seneviratne, Subha Srinivasan, Neha Sharma, Kavisha Kumari, Judit Cleetus, Chaya Mughal, Roopa Nagraj, Heena Hotchandani, Namita D’Souza, Ishani Senevirathne, Esha Oza, Nisha Ali, Udeni Kuruppuarachchi

While you're here
Scoreline

Liverpool 3
Mane (7'), Salah (69'), Firmino (90')

Bournemouth 0

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000


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