By Ben Hayward in Madeira
The questions kept on coming. What about the Ballon d'Or? La Decima? A title wiith Portugal, perhaps? Cristiano Ronaldo's new museum was officially opened in Madeira on Sunday, but for the Real Madrid forward, the space remains very much a work in progress.
Ronaldo was keen to avoid mention of the Ballon d'Or. "All trophies are important," he told more than 60 journalists from Portuguese and international media at the inauguration in Funchal. "I don't want to mention a specific one." But pressed on Fifa and France Football's prestigious prize, he added: "If it arrives, then I will find a space for it."
No doubt about that. Ronaldo's previous Ballon d'Or is the centrepiece of an impressive collection of individual and team trophies at the Museu CR7, along with a European Golden Shoe, a Fifa World Player of the Year award (since 2010 merged with the Ballon d'Or) and a replica of the Champions League he won with Manchester United in 2008.
Also among the awards are a chipped trophy he claimed as an eight-year-old at his very first club, Andorinha, plus another piece of silverware which spells his first name as "Christiano". There are significant spaces in the large glass cabinets as well, however, particularly in the Real Madrid section. The Portuguese was asked about La Decima, a potential 10th European Cup at the Spanish side. "There is always a place reserved for La Decima," he replied.
In truth, there is room for much more. And that's clearly the plan for Ronaldo: filling his museum with silverware is now an added motivation for the Portuguese player in his career's final flourish over the next five years or more.
"Whether or not he wins the Ballon d'Or, Ronaldo is the best," said the president of the Portuguese Football Federation, Fernando Gomes. "Let's hope he can add more trophies to the museum." And Madeira's regional president, Alberto Joao Jardim, added: "I hope he needs an even bigger museum in future."
Madrid's director of international relations, Emilio Butragueno, also attended. "This is a very special space and it dignifies the career of Cristiano Ronaldo," the former Spain striker said. And he added: "Cristiano is the best in the world and he deserves the Ballon d'Or more than anyone." Portugal boss Paul Bento agreed. "It would be an extreme injustice if Ronaldo did not win it," he said.
But a second Ballon d'Or is just the start for Ronaldo. Three titles in more than four years at Madrid is a mediocre return on a huge investment for the Spanish side, even though the Portuguese has hit an amazing 227 goals in 219 games since moving to the Santiago Bernabeu. More must follow.
But as Ronaldo reaches his prime in the coming campaigns, there's time for plenty more. One Spanish journalist suggested on Sunday that for the Portuguese to open a museum with his personal prizes before the age of 30 was akin to writing an autobiography while still young: unfinished and incomplete.
However, a book cannot be changed once it is released, only republished, whereas a museum can continue to be filled. As Butragueno said, this is indeed a special space: tastefully designed and painstakingly planned, Ronaldo's life work as a footballer now has a home for all of his achievements - and it is one his fans, plus the people of Portugal and Madeira, can be proud to visit. It just needs a few more top trophies. Over to you, Cristiano.
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