Over the course of the last two decades, Cristiano Ronaldo has established his reputation as one of the greatest soccer players ever.
During his time playing for Sporting CP, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Juventus and the Portuguese national team, Ronaldo has collected honors and accolades including:
- Five Ballon d'Or awards
- Five UEFA Champions League titles
- One UEFA European Championship
- Most goals in the Champions League
- Most international goals by a male player
Achievements like these don't happen by accident - they're the result of the discipline and dedication Ronaldo has shown throughout his career, combined with a lot of natural talent.
If you’ve your sights set on achieving big things in your career, it's worth thinking about what you might be able to learn from this sporting great.
1. Don't be afraid of healthy ambition
There's nothing wrong with saying you want to be the best at something, as long as your ambition and desire to succeed don't cross the line into arrogance or a willingness to disadvantage others for your own gain.
Ronaldo has faced accusations of being a selfish player, but he also holds the record for the most assists in the Champions League and helped Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus win multiple trophies and titles. This suggests that, while he is unabashedly ambitious, his drive for greatness also inspires and motivates those around him.
2. Never get complacent
When he moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid in 2009, Ronaldo had already won the Premier League, the Champions League, the Ballon d'Or and the FIFA World Player of the Year award. His move from England to Spain also set a new world record transfer fee at the time of £80 million (€94 million).
All this success came before Ronaldo had turned 25. But far from resting on his laurels, the player pushed himself to even greater heights at Real Madrid, where he won four Champions League trophies and became the club's all-time top goalscorer.
Ronaldo clearly adheres to a philosophy that can prove just as productive in business as it can in sport: that regardless of your past successes, you should always be looking forward and dreaming of your next achievement.
3. Be prepared to change
Being ready to change and adapt to whatever the world might throw at you is an invaluable quality in the business world, particularly during the current era of rapid digital transformation.
This is a mindset that Ronaldo has clearly embraced throughout his sporting career. His playing style has evolved over the years, and the various adjustments he's made - whether in response to coaching, his teammates or simply the changes in his body as he's aged - have helped him stay at the pinnacle of professional soccer.
If you're able to shift your style and ways of thinking to seize opportunities and tackle challenges, you'll have a longer, richer and more successful career.
4. Don't be intimidated by adversity
Every elite sports competitor will go through periods of adversity and face daunting challenges during their careers, and the same goes for business professionals.
For Ronaldo, one of the toughest periods came early on in his career. During the 2006 FIFA World Cup, his Portugal team beat England in the quarter-finals, and Ronaldo himself was involved in a red card incident involving his Manchester United teammate Wayne Rooney.
Ronaldo was made a scapegoat for England's loss in the local press and he publicly requested a transfer away from Manchester United, which the club denied.
Despite being booed by English fans throughout the 2006-07 Premier League campaign, this proved to be Ronaldo's breakthrough season. He scored more than 20 goals for the first time and won his first Premier League title.
Ronaldo's drive to succeed against the odds and prove his doubters wrong has become a key theme in his career. Displaying the same qualities in business can help you overcome challenges and emerge from your most difficult periods a stronger person and a more capable professional.