Jurgen Klopp missed out on Liverpool transfer target he wanted before Sadio Mane
Former Sporting academy star Fabio Paim has joked that Cristiano Ronaldo should give him one of his five Ballon d’Ors as he is more talented than the Al Nassr star. The forward never came close to meeting his potential as a footballer, with off-field distractions hindering his progress, despite there being the expectation in Portugal that he would take the world by storm with the ball at his feet.
Ronaldo is one of the most decorated stars in world football, winning the Premier League three times, the Champions League on five occasions and numerous other trophies throughout his career. The Portugal international’s individual accolades are equally as impressive and, along with Lionel Messi, he will be remembered as an all-time great upon his retirement.
The former Real Madrid star has always strived to be the best in the business, and he has only admitted that one player was ever truly better than him – Paim. Upon signing for Manchester United, Ronaldo reportedly said: “If you think I’m good, wait until you see Fabio Paim.” His childhood friend was regarded as one of the most exciting young players in Europe before his career derailed entirely due to the financial freedom he was granted by being a footballer.
Speaking to The Sun, Paim admitted that he could have become a sensational player if he had the correct mentality, explaining: “I was really special. I must be humble but this is the truth.
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“Unfortunately back then there was not Instagram or Facebook, nothing was recorded like nowadays but I strongly and honestly believe that until today there was no other like me with the same quality I had. Cristiano, for all his effort and hard work, went to a level he deserves.
“But when I was playing, if I had the same effort and commitment, I would be better than him. If I speak about technique, I was better. I was a small Ronaldinho. But as we can see, it’s not the technique that leads us to wherever. But yes at that time I was better than Cristiano. I believe he should give me one of his Ballons d’Or!”
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Rather than matching his natural ability with a strong mindset, Paim settled for splashing his wages on leading a lavish lifestyle to impress his friends and women. As a result, his career consisted of spells in China, Angola, Qatar and Brazil – among other lesser footballing nations – rather than hitting the heights of Ronaldo in Europe. He also spent a year in prison in 2019 after being caught in possession of cocaine but was released after the case collapsed.
Paim continued: “As I was earning lots of money, I got the illusion I didn’t need the effort. It is impossible for a person like me to be a millionaire. I regret some of my choices. Now I’m at a different age so can see the picture differently. The talent was there but my mind wasn’t. My head was on women and partying, everywhere else apart from football. I played some matches but my body was not in its best shape and didn’t respond to what people were demanding from me because if I could, I would have been at Barcelona or Real Madrid.”
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