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Style and substance
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HIS EARLY YEARS
He learnt his craft in the Primeira Liga, where he played for one of Portugal's top clubs. His big break came during a pre-season friendly match in 2003, when his side faced a leading English Premier League side. He impressed so much that, after the match, the opponents urged their manager to sign him.
In 2003, the Premiership club shelled out £12.24 million ($23.54m), a fee which at the time made him the most expensive teenager in English football. A star was born.
Early in his career, he was criticised for being overly flamboyant.
But, once he settled down in England, the substance started to match the style.
Blessed with searing pace and exceptional dribbling skills, he took little time to become a crowd favourite.
His game was also starting to improve at a stunning rate, as he added strength and superb heading ability to his repertoire to turn into arguably the best all-round forward in the world.
The goals started to flow, too.
His brilliant shooting skills and clinical finishing saw him score goals by the truckloads.
As his responsibility at club level grew, so did his stature on the international arena. At just 19, he played his first major tournament at Euro 2004, where he helped his team go all the way to the final. Four years later, he was made captain of his national team.
To date, he has played in three European Championships and three World Cups.
Now plying his trade in the Spanish La Liga, he averages more than a goal per game.
Over the years, he has won plenty of games single-handedly. But his critics feel that his ego also gets the better of him at times.
His self-centredness compromises his team. He may be his team's most lethal weapon, but he can also be a defensive liability.
Because of his strong desire to always claim the glory, he lacks tactical discipline and, as result, the team shape suffers.
Opponents shrewd or confident enough are quick to exploit his reluctance to track back to defend.
Throughout his career, there have also been accusations that he is a flat-track bully who thrives against the weak teams but goes missing on the big occasions.
WHY HE'S FAMOUS
He has won three Premiership titles and one La Liga crown, although a trophy on the international stage continues to elude him.
He is one of only five players to have won three or more Ballon d'Or titles, having picked up the award in 2008, 2013 and 2014.
Who is he?
International debut: Aug 20, 2003 (v Kazakhstan)
International games: 125
International goals: 56
"He was blessed by God and knew he would become one of the best in the history of football. He is the best and is light years ahead of anyone else. He’s a quiet person, a hard worker and honest."
— His club teammate
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Friday’s Singapore Stipendiary Stewards’ Report Highlights
BULLISH LUCK: Slow to begin; made contact.
SECRET MAN: Made contact; eased on two occasions.
GOLD LINE: Bumped.
KING OF THIEVES: Bumped; eased outwards; bumped again and unbalanced; blundered and checked.
MR TRY: Bumped; tendency to lay inwards; again tendency to lay inwards, resulting in his rider having to stop riding and straighten the gelding on a number of occasions.
ONE MORE ACHIEVER: Raced tight; brushed.
GIORGIO: Raced tight; brushed.
EASY MONEY: Returned as a roarer; had previously undergone corrective surgery for this condition.
CONILAD: Jumped awkwardly inwards; bumped.
GOLDEN DIAMOND: Bumped; very unbalanced; made contact; laid inwards, resulting in his rider having to stop riding and straighten the gelding on a number of occasions; raced wide.
TRETCHIKOFF: Made contact; raced wide.
RACING TALENT: Made contact; raced wide; returned having cast his off-fore.
DREAMPITCHER: Began awkwardly; shifted inwards abruptly; bumped.
SHAQRAA: Bumped; returned having cast his off-hind plate.
SKYHAWK: Bumped; checked; raced poorly.
THE WINGED DRAGON: Made contact.
TIZALOOCHEE: Returned lame off-fore.
GOOD BET: Lame off-fore; withdrawn.
OUR TOUCHE: Jumped awkwardly.
MIGHTY CREATION: Tendency to lay outwards; while the stewards felt that it had not affected the placings, jockey E Aslam was reminded of his obligations to ride his mount out fully to the end.
ARROWHEAD: Raced wide.
DRAGON KING: Steadied when tightened; had difficulty obtaining a clear run in the early part of the straight.
IMPERIAL BOY: Rolled inwards.
COURT CASE: Checked.
PUBLIC GUARDIAN: Slow to begin.
PRETTY ELUSIVE: Jumped awkwardly; bumped heavily; proved difficult to settle; hung outwards.
Jockey M Nunes, when questioned regarding the run of Pretty Elusive, said that after suffering interference at the start, he had to ride his mount vigourously in the early stages to obtain a forward position. Thereafter, Pretty Elusive failed to run on when placed under pressure in the straight and disappointed.
A veterinary examination revealed that the horse returned not striding out freely.
VINTAGE VERDOT: Jumped awkwardly.
PURE WHITE: Jumped awkwardly.
ROYAL CHOICE: Jumped awkwardly.
PREFERRED: Crowded; steadied.
SWAN SONG: Bumped heavily.
ASHQAR: Raced wide.
RAINBOW WARRIOR: Jockey A Da Silva replaced jockey V Duric on Rainbow Warrior as Duric could not make the weight.
BIG BANKER: Examined and passed fit to race.
KING SAVINSKY: Slow to begin; eased; laid inwards.
VERGLATICA: Rolled outwards; raced wide; cramped for racing room shortly after passing the 150m mark until near the 50m mark.
HUMOR TOWN: Jumped awkwardly.
HIPPO PROSPERO: Inconvenienced; eased when crowded.
RAINBOW WARRIOR: Returned not striding out freely.
GANNA: Raced poorly.
TOP OF THE TOWN: Began awkwardly.
FLYING WINNER: Began awkwardly.
GUILTLESS: Began awkwardly.
EVERTRUST: Slow to begin; inconvenienced; eased when racing tight.
STATE TROOPER: Carried outwards.
MING'S BOY: Jumped awkwardly; steadied.
CASSIS OOLONG: Bumped outwards.
SO PERFECT: Bumped on two occasions; made contact; rolled inwards.
FLYING WINNER: Bumped; made contact; eased; steadied.
OCEAN STORY: Inconvenienced; raced wide; jockey N Juglall reported that the gelding had returned with his saddle having shifted back during the race.
BLACK BEAN: Rolled inwards.
BATTLE HORSE: A Munro replaced Duric on Battle Horse as Duric could not make the weight; jumped awkwardly.
DRAGON SPIRIT: Examined and passed fit to race; rolled outwards; unable to secure a clear run between the 400m mark and the 200m mark.
WONDERFUL KNIGHT: Jumped awkwardly inwards; bumped; raced wide.
NINETYSEVEN GOLD: Bumped.
SPEEDY DRAGON: Bumped.
CASTOR: Jumped awkwardly inwards; made contact.
TASSAJARA: Made contact.
LEE BANK: Jumped awkwardly.
PROFESSOR X: Steadied outwards.
TURQUOISE KING: Raced wide; hung outwards.
STOCK BROKER: Restless in the barrier; slow to begin; bumped.
BEAT TO QUARTERS: Jumped awkwardly inwards; bumped.
Q NINE MAC: Bumped; made contact; raced wide.
CHEETAH KING: Made contact.
SUPER BRILLIANT: Crowded; checked.
STORM TROOPER: Eased.
BELLUS WONDER: Rolled outwards; bumped.
HAPPY HAPPY: Returned lame off-fore.
SPLENDOR: Reared over at the start, examined and passed fit to race.
KEEN DRAGON: Bumped.
SAVAGE STORM: Bumped.
CORDOBA: Rolled inwards; had difficulty obtaining clear running at the 100m mark until shortly after passing the 50m mark.
ROCK ESPRIT: Raced wide.
CLERMONT CLUB: Raced wide.