Why Ronaldo must win Saturday’s Champions League final

The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid could be the defining moment of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career.

Arguably the most important match of Cristiano Ronaldo’s career takes place on Saturday night as Real Madrid face city-rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final in Lisbon.

It may seem strange suggesting this as Ronaldo already has a Champions League winner's medal following Manchester United’s triumph in Moscow six years ago, but a win on Saturday would likely have added importance for Madrid’s number seven.

Since his move to the Bernabeu in 2009, despite his quite remarkable personal achievements (which includes 251 goals in 245 appearances), Madrid themselves have not enjoyed a huge amount of dominance compared to Ronaldo’s time at United under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Los Blancos may have won one La Liga crown and two Copa Del Rey trophies in the last five years, but they have often been in the shadow of fierce rivals Barcelona and Ronaldo arguably in the shadow of Lionel Messi.

During this period, the Catalan giants have enjoyed a great deal of success first under Pep Guardiola and then Tito Vilanova, lifting the league trophy on three occasions while also winning the Champions League in 2011. It should also be noted that Ronaldo also suffered defeat to Barcelona in the 2009 final while playing for United.

Times appear to be changing in Spain, however, as this season has finally seen the Portuguese forward claim top spot in terms of the world’s best player. After suffering at the hands of Messi for the coveted FIFA Ballon d'or for four years running, an emotional Ronaldo picked up the award in January for the second time.

Although personal accomplishments will no doubt be of great pleasure to the 29-year-old, on-field success is what Ronaldo will want to be remembered for, making Saturday’s final even more vital.

By claiming a 10th European Cup win for Real, Ronaldo will certainly go down as a Madrid legend while also leaving the rest of the world in fear for Brazil next month.

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