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Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima might be the greatest player to have ever laced up his boots, fortunately for him he's at least in the conversation, and one thread might prove that to be the case.
There isn't really a way to be sure who the greatest footballer ever is. You can't just look at numbers because there's so many mitigating factors and trying to work out who would have played well in what generation is almost impossible.
The fact that we can't possibly ever know the answer is exactly what makes the whole debate so interesting and usually ends up with arguments about Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Before those two though there was always a very good chance that the original Ronaldo would get brought up at some point. The Brazil forward was always considered the best out and out strikers of all time and only injuries stop him being talked about more often.
Now one thread has gone viral after making some very good points about why he may be the best ever:
He broke the world transfer record twice before his 21st birthday.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
He's the youngest-ever recipient of the Ballon d'Or.
Ronaldo Nazário - the greatest footballer of all time?
A thread. pic.twitter.com/TpUH08Vu7Z
He joined Social Ramos Athletic indoor futsal team aged 12, and led the city youth league in scoring with a record 166 goals in his first season which included scoring 11 of his team's 12 goals in a single game- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
He was signed by his agents aged just 13. pic.twitter.com/IZShTp95dx
Aged 16 he joined Cruzeiro - Ronaldo scored 44 goals in 47 games for the club, leading them to their first Copa do Brasil in 1993, and the Minas Gerais State Championship in 1994. pic.twitter.com/uAN31ERNKH- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Romario, who had previously played for PSV, recommended them to Ronaldo, who he chose to join after the 94 World Cup.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
During his two seasons at PSV he scored 54 goals in 58 games.
Rudi Völler: "Never in my life have I seen an 18-year-old play in this way." pic.twitter.com/EmHPni4hFA
Luis Enrique: "I'd seen him on television at PSV and thought 'wow'. Then he came to Barcelona. He's the most spectacular player I've ever seen. He did things I'd never seen before. We're now used to seeing Messi dribble past six players, but not then. Ronaldo was a beast." pic.twitter.com/IpyyuIOjfb- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
It was only a matter of time before one of Europe's big boys came knocking - Barcelona paid a then World Record £13.2m for the striker.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
He kept up his record of almost a goal a game, scoring a staggering 47 goals in 49 games during the 96/97 season. An insane return. pic.twitter.com/cbEkWUIuFv
He also won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, the Copa del Rey and the Supercopa de España.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
That season he was also La Liga top scorer with 34 goals from 37 games - numbers that had never been seen before, until compared with the likes of Messi and Cristiano. pic.twitter.com/2TgCWQ2QGH
Ronaldo played against Atletico three times that season - he scored 8 times.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Quinton Fortune: "I saw him after the match [when I had to mark him] finished, and that's the nearest I was to Ronaldo on the night. He was technical, quick, strong and smart. He was a beast." pic.twitter.com/oqXv4yEyQ0
At the end of 1996, aged 20, Ronaldo became the youngest player to win FIFA World Player of the Year - some achievement for a young skinny lad.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Ronaldo played like a winger - but he did so in the centre of the pitch.
Defences were simply mesmerised. He was unstoppable. pic.twitter.com/iUjZOiBXk0
That summer he joined Inter for another World Record fee of £19.2m.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
During his first season, he netted 25 Serie A goals, and was named Serie A Footballer of the Year
Halfway through his first season he won FIFA World Player of the Year once again, and collected the Ballon d'Or pic.twitter.com/5KdktfzfbU
May 6, 1998. The UEFA Cup final. Inter vs. Lazio- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
That match had been hyped as a meeting between the best attacker and the best defender in Serie A. Inter Milan won the game 3-0.
Alessandro Nesta: "It was the worst experience of my career. There's nothing I could have done." pic.twitter.com/rBqE0tbyAX
Between 1994 and 1999, Ronaldo scored 115 goals in 134 games before his first knee injury.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
The first Nike Mercurial boots, R9, were commissioned for Ronaldo in 1998. pic.twitter.com/qZtHqqabX8
Heading into the 1998 World Cup he was the world's in-form striker. En-route to the final, he scored 4 and assisted 3.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Hours before the final he suffered a health scare, clearly not fit to play.
Ronaldo later reflected: "We lost the World Cup but I won another cup - my life." pic.twitter.com/IGlGiK6sWR
The injuries suffered at Inter took away the explosiveness that made him possibly the greatest young footballer of all time.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Such a shame, but he remained a goalscorer upon his return. pic.twitter.com/4G4s6j8lGM
Before his career-threatening knee injuries, Ronaldo scored 130 goals in 155 league games all against the ilkes of Maldini, Nesta, Costacurta, Thuram, Roberto Carlos, Hierro, Cafu, Aldair, Blind, De Boer & Mihajlovic. pic.twitter.com/Qfm6DhQEYu- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
By the time of first career-threatening injury in 99, Ronaldo (23) had already scored more than 200 goals for Cruzeiro, PSV, Barça, Inter & Brazil.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
After two operations, Ronaldo returned for the 2002 World Cup... pic.twitter.com/ctfPf49uRc
He achieved what many thought impossible and helped Brazil win their fifth World Cup title. Netting twice in the final - a Man of the Match performance.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Ronaldo scored against every opponent in the tournament except in the quarter-finals against England. pic.twitter.com/VQdS1lGx70
A move to Real Madrid was next, as part of the Galácticos era.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
His debut vs. Alaves, October 2002:
63': Substituted on
64': Scored his first Madrid goal
At the back end of 2002, he won the FIFA World Player of the Year award for the third time. pic.twitter.com/eENuMi0IiF
Fast-forward to 2003, In the second leg of Real Madrid's Champions League quarter-final. Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Man Utd at Old Trafford, knocking them out of the competition.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Ronaldo was substituted on 80mins and was given a standing ovation from both sets of fans. pic.twitter.com/f4m1bKxeby
In four-and-a-half seasons at Madrid, Ronaldo scored over a 100 goals for the club, becoming the fifth foreigner at Madrid to achieve the feat.- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
He won 7 trophies during his time at the club alongside his third Ballon d'Or. pic.twitter.com/dYAJzGyYrQ
Gianluigi Buffon: "If it wasn't for injury I think he would be talked about on the same level as Pelé & Maradona."- FourFourTweet (@FourFourTweet) January 16, 2019
Zlatan: "Ronaldo is the greatest. He was as [good as] Pele."
Bobby Robson: "Had he managed to stay free of injury, he could have been the best footballer ever." pic.twitter.com/dxSZiq1Y8i
An incredible career and an incredible player.
Who do you think is the greatest player ever?
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