Film: Ronaldo [IMDB Link]
Released: 9th November 2015
Runtime: 102 minutes
First of all, I’d like to start off this review by saying that I am a huge Cristiano Ronaldo fan. We all know that you either love him or hate him (he even references this in the movie) but it’s clear to say that I am in the love camp. He played in the Premier League for Manchester United for 6 seasons and even though I hate United, you couldn’t dispute the talent and ability of Cristiano Ronaldo. He won the 2008 Ballon d’Or and deservedly so that year.
A question a lot of people ask me then is how do I rate Ronaldo against Lionel Messi? That’s a tough one. I am a Ronaldo fan but appreciate Lionel Messi is a unique and special talent – a player who has captured the imagination of the footballing world and will rightly be considered one of the greatest players of all time alongside legends such as Pele and Maradona. But if you ask me who intrigues me as a player and a person, then it’s Ronaldo.
The thing I like about Ronaldo is that he has worked ridiculously hard to get where he has got to and for me that is inspirational. He clearly had some talent as a youngster but what sets him apart is his sheer dedication and work ethic. He always believes he can be better and is never satisfied with what he has achieved. Anyone can have footballing ability but it takes someone special to give it 110% every single day – and that is what Ronaldo has done, he strives to improve.
When you think about the other 99% of footballers around he puts them to shame. Far too many footballers are comfortable, satisfied with what they have. They get the money, the mansion, the cars and the women and at that point they think they’ve made it. But Ronaldo has never been satisfied and while many players perhaps started with a similar skill-set as Ronaldo in their teens, very few have gone on to achieve what Ronaldo has achieved.
Another thing I like about Ronaldo is that he’s honest. He doesn’t play a certain persona – he is who he is. He’s a born winner and doesn’t hide the fact that he is arrogant. I think too many football fans buy into the fact that footballers are overly humble – to be the best you need to believe you’re the best. Thierry Henry is probably one of the nicest people you will meet but you can believe that behind closed doors he felt he was the f*cking man. That he was better than anyone else that stepped on the same pitch as him, because that’s what his performances were like. To play in front of thousands of people in the stadium, be seen on TV all over the world by millions – you need to be arrogant to be the best.
So onto the movie. What did I think of it? Well when I heard about the film and the fact that it was made by the people who made Senna (which is a really fantastic film by the way) I was excited to see “Ronaldo”. But in the end, even being a massive Ronaldo fan, I hate to say that I was left pretty disappointed.
I was expecting an intimate look into the man behind the phenomenon, a glimpse into his world. And while we did see his family, his friends and Ronaldo himself off the field – in the end we didn’t really see much.
I already knew the kind of relationship he had with his mother, father, brothers and son so it didn’t really give anything extra about his family life. You did see a lot of his agent Jorge Mendes and everything he said seemed to be a big PR opportunity – you didn’t see any arguments or any real decisions being made in the life of Ronaldo. Most of the scenes with Mendes in all seemed way too scripted and false.
And then Ronaldo himself. He offers some insight to his life but nothing revealing or new, and as a big Ronaldo fan that left me disappointed. There wasn’t anything interesting and he was far to nice about pretty much everything. There’s nothing wrong with having a great life where nothing goes wrong but to have a truly intriguing documentary film there needs to be at least some vulnerability. But there is none.
And maybe that’s the problem the filmmakers had – maybe Ronaldo is perfect and that’s how his life is. But it was hardly insightful or intimate as the tagline suggests. There was nothing about his relationships, or even about how he felt about certain football matches or players – there was nothing new to interest me.
I suppose the best way to describe the movie would be to compare it to a biography a footballer will publish when he retires from the game. You have Roy Keane for instance, who had a few interesting opinions about his career at Manchester United, and didn’t hold back in his thoughts about Sir Alex Ferguson. Even Steven Gerrard had some interesting insights into his relationship with Rafa Benitez, and I’m sure there have been countless other biographies from former players that made headlines – but here in lies the problem.
The bottom line is Cristiano Ronaldo is a current player so there’s no way he can be controversial about players, coaches or football teams, because at the end of the day he still needs to work with these people. But the big problem is, is that you’re left with a “documentary film” that has slick production but has no real substance. It’s an over-scripted, PR movie that gives nothing of interest and ultimately leaves you wanting a lot more.
Really, it’s a big surprise that there isn’t a Nike advert played every 15 minutes.
So overall? Unfortunately in the end I would give the film 5 out of 10, and that is coming from a big, big, Cristiano Ronaldo fan.
Only people like me who are Ronaldo fans would want to see this movie in the first place, but it’s sad to say don’t bother. If you’re not a Ronaldo fan then I can’t see you making it through the first 30 minutes without switching it off or leaving the cinema.