Whether you love him or hate him, you have to respect Cristiano Ronaldo’s game.
One of the most talented players to ever take the pitch, Ronaldo has earned a reputation as a skilled, powerful goal-scorer whose deadly pace and incredible footwork make him a nightmare for any defending side.
For young soccer players looking to develop an elite style of play and take their games to the next level, Cristiano Ronaldo’s game offers many invaluable lessons. In this post, we’ll break down three of the biggest takeaways from the Portuguese striker’s play, so rising stars can begin to develop and apply these skills in their own games and dominate play as Ronaldo has throughout his career.
1. Being Direct and Purposeful with the Ball
Those of us who have watched Ronaldo progress over his career know that he hasn’t always played with the same simplicity and directness as he does today. When he first suited up for Manchester United in 2003, he would often overcomplicate the play with excessive touches, unnecessary flair, and a seeming obsession with embarrassing defenders instead of seeing the bigger picture in the attack.
Many young and talented players fall into the same trap as Ronaldo did early in his career. They know they can beat the defenders using their superior talent and choose to take the one-on-one option instead of working the ball around or finding a simple through ball to beat the defense.
When you watch Ronaldo now, he still uses some degree of flair, but he does so with a greater purpose than to simply beat the man in front of him. He plays directly and uses his foot skills only when he needs to, which has helped him be incredibly efficient on attack.
For young players looking to emulate Ronaldo, playing with a greater purpose is critical. Instead of looking to dance around and humiliate a player, look to move the defender with your skills so you can continue the attack and create something quickly.
2. Having a Goal-Scoring Obsession
Ronaldo has built his reputation on his uncanny ability to find the back of the net. While there is no doubt his years of elite training have given him the power and finesse to be an effective goal-scorer, a great deal of his performance stems from his mindset. When Ronaldo plays, he must score. If he doesn’t, he is not satisfied. This obsession with goal-scoring is what separates good players from great ones.
For young players looking to elevate their games and compete at the highest levels, simple attitude changes can go a long way. Some call it “playing like a man amongst boys,” or “playing like an adult amongst children.” However you phrase it, elite players have to act like such.
This doesn’t mean you should hog the ball or take on defenders every chance you get, but rather when you’re in a position to make an impact on the game, whether that is a goal-scoring opportunity or a chance to move the ball quickly to a player in space, you seize the moment and make it count.
3. Showing Confidence and Strength on the Ball
To succeed at the highest levels, you not only have to train diligently to develop an elite set of skills but you also have to possess the confidence to execute when the time comes. When you watch Ronaldo play, he shows confidence in everything he does, so when a chance opens up, he can make the play without hesitation.
The first step to develop your skills through purposeful, high-level training. Whereas some people believe you can “fake it until you make it,” you cannot fake soccer skills. So, work on your skills at practice, and break them out during games and team sessions to build the confidence you need to use them during the game’s biggest moments.
At Total Soccer, we provide elite soccer training to youth players in Downingtown, PA, and throughout the Philadelphia region. Players who are looking to advance their games to the highest levels come to Total Soccer to make meaningful improvements in their games and develop the skills needed to have long, successful careers in the sport.
Explore our soccer classes near Montgomery County and throughout the greater Philadelphia area and take the first step toward becoming a high-level soccer player today!