Following the recent release his documentary film and biography, it’s very evident that Cristiano Ronaldo has a work ethic that is above and beyond the norm. It’s his relentless drive and dedication towards constant improvement and mastery that has propelled him to the top of his craft.
What can we learn from Ronaldo’s success?
1. HAVE A VISION
People have to understand one thing: at the age of 18, I arrived at a dream club like Manchester United. It was a dream come true. But, even at that moment, I was thinking about playing in England for some years and then going to play in Spain. Even at that time I was thinking that way, and I always gave 100% everything.
At the age of 18, and probably even before that, Cristiano knew exactly where he was going. He had a vision of playing for Real Madrid and being the best player in the world. He had signed with Manchester United, arguably the biggest club in world football at the time, but he didn’t settle for anything less than his vision. He saw it as a stepping stone to his end goal, an opportunity to hone his skills and challenge himself to improve.
Create the ultimate vision for yourself and decide you’re going to go for it no matter what.
2. WORK ETHIC
I am not a perfectionist, but I like to feel that things are done well. More important than that, I feel an endless need to learn, to improve, to evolve, not only to please the coach and the fans, but also to feel satisfied with myself. It is my conviction that there are no limits to learning, and that it can never stop, no matter what our age.
Ronaldo is well known for his work ethic. He turns up to training 2 hours before everyone else and leaves 2 hours later. Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has described him as a ‘one-off’ professional who ‘squeezes the best’ out of his talent. Mike Clegg, Manchester United’s fitness and conditioning coach at the time, describes Cristiano’s work ethic:
From the day he walked through the door at Carrington to the day he left, Cristiano Ronaldo was the greatest trainer I ever worked with. He took on a new level of total dedication to his training because he wanted to be the best footballer in the world. He filled his time with football, his whole life was dedicated to it. He even had his own cook so that he was eating well all the time, he made sure he bought a house with a swimming pool so that he could do more training.
I’ve seen players train themselves into the ground because of insufficient knowledge, but Ronaldo was more intelligent than that. He’d train hard, but he’d listen to the specialists around him, the coaches, the manager, the other players like Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. He took their advice in pursuit of personal excellence.
It’s clear he was dedicated to his vision of being the best player in the world and he did whatever was needed to achieve it. You must cultivate this level of passion, hunger and dedication if you’re really serious at being the best at whatever you do.
3. DO WHAT YOU LOVE
I’m proud to play for Real Madrid because I have fun; when you no longer have fun it’s a sign that it’s time to leave. For now though, I’m happy here at the greatest club in the world.
It gives me the happiest feeling in the world. I just love scoring and It doesn’t matter if it’s a simple goal from close range, a long shot or a dribble around several players, I just love to score all kind of goals.
When you love what you do it doesn’t feel like work. You’re willing to go the extra mile. It’s always on your mind and you’re always plotting on how to improve and get ahead of the competition. Steve Jobs once said “You have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing because it is so hard… if you don’t, any rational person would give up”. It’s your passion and love for what you do that is going to fuel your drive to succeed.
4. GROW STRONGER THROUGH ADVERSITY
I feel I have grown up. I am a man. It’s important in my football too. When everything is good, I don’t think you grow up fantastically, I think maybe you need a few problems to grow up. It is good if people in England have started to admire me. I think I have changed a little since the World Cup. I am stronger with my mentality and with my game as well.
Cristiano Ronaldo left home at the age of 12 to pursue his career as a professional footballer. Being away from his family at such a young age forced him to take responsibility for himself and mature at a much younger age than most. He had to deal with his problems alone and as a result he developed the mentality that he can overcome any obstacle he set his mind to.
Instead of avoiding problems, learn to face and deal with them. You will grow stronger from it and build your self-belief to handle anything that comes your way.