Player Feature: Cristiano Ronaldo

Full Name: Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro 

Birthdate: February 5, 1985

Birthplace: Funchal, Madeira, Portugal 

Current Team: Juventus

Position: Forward, Midfielder (Left)

Shirt number: 7

Years Active: 2001 – present

Key facts and stats

  • Appeared on more than 803 matches
  • Had a total of 601 goals
  • Golden Boot awardee in 2018-19 (EPL)
  • 2x Player of the Season (EPL)
  • 4x Player of the Month (EPL)
  • Serie A MVP
  • 37% shooting accuracy

Cristiano Ronaldo started playing football professionally in 2002, although he was already a part of the Portugal national team from 2001. He currently captains the Portugal team.

He started playing for Sporting Clube de Portugal B as a reserve in 2002 then, as a senior player the following year. He moved on to Manchester United when he was just 18 years old and Real Madrid from 2003 to 2009 and 2009 to 2018, respectively. In 2018, he transferred to Juventus.

His 2009 transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid has been one of the most expensive transfers in the world of football worth £80 million ($97 million) then. He broke this record when he signed up with Juventus with a transfer worth £100 million ($121 million). It was the highest-paid amount for a football player older than 30 years old. 

Hailed as one of the greatest football players of all time, Ronaldo has a total of 803 league appearances in a total of 17 leagues and cups. His most appearances are in La Liga (292), Premier League (196), and Champions League (162).

He scored the most goals at La Liga with 311, followed by Champions League with 126. He only had 84 goals so far for playing at the Premier League. He had a total of 601 goals as of 2018-19 season. Ronaldo is also the highest goalscorer of all-time among European players.

Ronaldo’s Premier League performance is widely received especially his last three seasons with the United. He had three championships and four Player of the Month awards. He was given the Golden Boot in the 2007-08 season, which means he was the leading goalscorer overall of that season. Ronaldo was also a two-time Player of the Season from 2006 to 2008.

He has a total of 29 trophies that include six league titles. Ronaldo has five Ballon d’Or awards; the most any European player has. He received his first Ballon d’Or when he was just 22 years old. He also had the most European Golden Shoe awards. Ronaldo was the current Serie A Most Valuable Player (MVP).

Ronaldo is known as an indirect set-piece threat. He likes to cut inside and do layoffs. Ronaldo has a solid finishing despite his very weak offside awareness. He dribbles, passes, and holds to the ball, but his defensive contributions are on the weaker side. He has a shooting accuracy of 37%.

The highest-paid athlete, Ronaldo’s popularity as a premier football player is evident in his influence on the youth. He has a celebrity status and compels the likes of Forbes to include him on its 100 most influential people worldwide list in 2014.

He has more than 170 million followers on Instagram – the most followed to date.

 

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How the Premier League Has Evolved Over the Years

Premier League changed football forever, unrecognisable from what it was 27 years ago.

Founded in 1992, the numbers attached to the twenty-team Premier League playing a total of 38 games per season on average are staggering. For instance, the League has produced 21,553 goals in total with Manchester United leading the count at 1,989.

These stats, while they may not show the whole picture, proved that there is more to the league than the hype and money.

A league of its own

English football is always pitted against cricket and rugby, without an identity of its own. But those were the 1990s before the digital wave came into existence.

Football is now on a separate section of the newspapers and websites too. The sport had never experienced any letup in terms of media coverage. It’s a visual entertainment, from 18 games on live TV in the former First Division to 60 and now, 168 televised games every season.

Stakes are high

Each televised comes with a hefty price tag–the TV rights auction alone amounts to £$8 billion in total. A football match today is worth £10 million when the entire finals of the 1991-92 season cost around £15 million. 

In terms of broadcasting rights, there had been a 2,728% increase over 25 years. Predicting where the Premier League is broadcasted is harder to predict now more than ever. For now, it was available in 189 countries worldwide.

Ticket prices skyrocketed as well from £30 at the highest end to £97. So were the transfer fees. Club owners, which may compose of Americans, Middle Easterners, and Chinese, are billionaires. Thus, football is no longer the working man’s game. Instead, it can be considered a professional elite’s game–a lifestyle choice rather than just a sport.

A healthy mix of players

English football has a global appeal because of the talented and well-loved players from different parts of the world. When the League started, there were only 13 players from overseas out of 242 players in total. In the 2016-17 season, about 112 out of 220 players started the match on the last day of the said season.

Overseas players are well-represented today; they hailed from 113 different nations throughout the years since the Premier League started. In 1999, the first team without a Brit player played in the League. Speaking of which, out of the 20 teams, 13 has a non-English manager.

Discernible style of play

How the game is played was very different now. Agility and physicality are two vital changes. Not just the speed of the players and the way every match turns out, but also the club management takes care of these players more so physically. Diets are improved, and alcohol is removed from the regimen.

With this, football players are more interesting to watch while in the field. Their display of athleticism is salient.

On the other hand, with cards issuance in mind, the players of before were more disciplined. In the first week of 1992, no player was sent off, and three of the games had no booking. Compared with today, in just 10 games, 34 cards were issued. Red cards were also given to players.

English football has changed beyond recognition. However, it is still the same sport that binds people – Brits or not.

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Player Feature: Harry Maguire

Full Name: Jacob Harry Maguire 

Birthdate: March 5, 1993

Birthplace: Sheffield, England 

Current Team: Manchester United

Position: Defender, Centre-Back

Shirt number: 15

Years Active: 2009 – present

Key statistics

  • Appeared on more than 300 matches
  • Has a 70% tackle success rate
  • Has a 76% dribbling success rate
  • Has a 78.1% aerial duel success rate
  • Has an 86% passing accuracy

With his concentration on the field as his strongest characteristic, Harry Maguire’s style of play can be summed up to three things. First, he likes to dribble. Second, he plays long balls more often than not. And third, he plays the ball of the ground. Maguire is an indirect set-piece threat.

Maguire has played with six other clubs namely Barnsley FC U18, Sheffield United U18, Sheffield United, Hull City, Wigan Athletic, and Leicester City. If the deal pushed through, he would be playing for the Manchester United for the 2019/2020 season. Likewise, he was once a part of the national teams: England U21 in 2012 and England in 2017.

Joining Leicester City on July 1, 2017, his contract is supposed to expire on June 30, 2023, after an extension on September 9, 2018. He was the summer transfer that people are eagerly waiting to be resolved.

His current market value was €50 million. However, Manchester United is set to sign Maguire for €80 million–a transfer that is sealed ‘imminently.’ If signed, Maguire’s transfer would be one of the most expensive defenders of all time.

He has already played in nine different major competitions including League One and Premier League where he scored nine and seven goals, respectively. 

Maguire appeared on more than 100 matches (more than 300 on all leagues) between 2009 and 2019. He had seven goals with six assists and 19 clean sheets. He was able to concede 156 goals and tackle 153 with a tackle success rate of 70% (all seasons).

The one who is confident about his moves, Maguire has a dribbling success rate of 76%  in the 2018/2019 season. This makes him the second best defender next to Juan Foyth with 86% success rate. Such attribute has always been attached to his name since he first played football professionally at 19 years old.

He had 56 passes per game on average with a passing accuracy of 86%. While this is behind the passing accuracy of Leicester City (93%) and Manchester United (89%), his average can contribute to the overall success of either team with his average passes.

His aerial duel capacities are highly reliable as well. His aerial duel success rate is 78.1%–the highest with 151 aerial duels in the same season. What he lacks in speed, he compensates with physicality. He is one of the slowest defenders in the field.

These Premier League statistics (all seasons and 2018-2019 season) alone proved Maguire’s defence and team-playing prowess. He plays out from the back as confidently as he could, making him a centre-back to vie for. 

While he may not be a ball-playing centre-back like other defenders, he has all the attributes; hence, various clubs are after him. 

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