Review: Cristiano Ronaldo: The World at His Feet

Written by Charles Low
Cristiano Ronaldo: The World at His Feet runs at just under an hour providind viewers with a look at Christiano Ronaldo’s potted history with a tasteful, if not completely baffl

Cristiano Ronaldo: The World at His Feet runs at just under an hour providind viewers with a look at Christiano Ronaldo’s potted history with a tasteful, if not completely baffling, narration by Benedict Cumberbatch. The 57-minute journey zig-zags its way through certain key moments in Ronaldo’s life, mixed with a more general commentary on football.
While I wanted it to provider a deeper look into Christiano Ronaldo, the man himself, the world’s most Google-searched athlete, the film at times felt a bit like a primer in football, using one of its biggest stars to sell it, for the un-initiated.
From humble upbringings
It follows the life of Ronaldo from his humble upbringings in the isle of Madeira, to his omnipresence in both the world of sport and celebrity. Throughout this narrative are some rather bizzare re-enacted footage spliced with archived footage that makes the viewer feel like they are somewhere in between an E! documentary and in the pre-amble to a Sky Sports Super Sunday. However, take nothing away from the film’s star, who, even if this film was not compiled in the way it is, would naturally attract interest.
Hearing from the man himself
In one of the rarer moments of the film where we get to here straight from Christiano Ronaldo, he explains to the camera that he doesn’t have a particular reason for ever getting into football. He explains that his father and brother were both influences, but never gives a clichéd “it’s always been my dream” sort of response. He joined his local team, Andorinha, at the age of 8, and by the age of 12 he joined Sporting Lisbon.
Viewers are then treated to the moment where Christiano Ronaldo broke into prominence without being shown any footage from the game. Nevertheless, we hear that on the journey back from the game between Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United on the 12th of August 2003, the Manchester United players convinced their boss Sir Alex Ferguson to bring CR7 to Manchester.
Sir Alex, portrayed as a father figure to Ronaldo, is said to have taken him aside and given him the honour of wearing the number 7 shirt. An honour, and the move that surely elevated Christiano Ronaldo to stardom.
Insightful interviews
One of the most insightful interviews – alongside several pointless ones, e.g. Tony Hawk and an astrologist – is with Anthony Carr, MBE, the current Director of Youth Development at West Ham United. He explains that all scouts are looking for is a natural ability at an early age. The rest comes with development. And, clearly this natural ability is something that Christiano Ronaldo has in abundance. 
Ronaldo has been praised for having made the miraculous mundane. His physical and mental strength have seen him endure a career’s worth of comparisons to other players such as Lionel Messi that would have surely given any other player an inferiority complex. Indeed, FiveThirtyEight, the brainchild of Nate Silver, has attempted to quantify exactly why Messi is unparalleled in ‘the Beautiful Game.’
But as this film rightly concludes, love him or hate him, you cannot deny Christiano Ronaldo.
This film is a portrait of a miraculously humble man who has worked extremely hard to become a master of his craft amidst constant adversity. Christiano Ronaldo has to constantly face up to pundits, critics and fans who expect more and he keeps providing.
It is said that to be a true great footballer he must take his country to win the World Cup. This would seem beyond even Ronaldo, unfortunately. But this film will certainly serve us with a precious reminder of what a gift to the game he is.
What do you think of the film? Have your say in the comments section below.
Image: Flickr/Jan Solo