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“Clear Parallel to LeBron James” – Cristiano Ronaldo’s Ex-Teammate Likens Al Nassr Star’s Work Ethics to LA Lakers Icon

Published 09/27/2023, 11:01 AM EDT

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“Amateurs call it genius. Masters call it practice,” this particular quote went viral when France icon Thierry Henry tweeted it some years ago. The quote also certainly rings true for current soccer great Cristiano Ronaldo, who is still at the very top of his game playing for Al Nassr even at the age of 38. This notion has been further validated by Ronaldo’s ex-teammate, who drew parallels between Ronnie and NBA’s LeBron James.

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Ronaldo has been consistently pushing himself in training since he was a child, despite being bullied, teased and rejected; something all of his former teammates agree with. Now, Ronaldo’s former Real Madrid teammate Toni Kroos has further explained how the Madeira born superstar’s tireless work ethic, mindset and will to demand more of himself, separates him from the rest, just like LeBron James.

Toni Kroos compares Cristiano Ronaldo’s mindset and work ethic is similar to LeBron James


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Speaking on his podcast ‘Einfach mal luppen’, along with his brother, Toni Kroos spoke about Ronaldo’s mindset and training ethic which he saw firsthand at Real Madrid. On the episode the Kroos siblings were in conversation with NBA star Dennis Schroder after Germany’s 2023 FIBA World Cup win discussing all things sport.

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On the podcast episode, while discussing CR7, Toni Kroos said, “This obsession in training. Always wanting to be the best – also having to be the best for yourself. And to live your life according to that,” referring to Ronaldo’s mindset and success mantra.


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Furthermore, citing examples from his attitude in the dressing room, the German midfielder added, “He wasn’t satisfied when the score was 4-0 and he had only scored two goals. He was totally dissatisfied because he wanted to score his third, fourth and fifth goals. That obsession gets the guys to where they are.”

Then while comparing Ronaldo to LeBron, the Real Madrid midfielder also added, “That’s what no one sees.” “It’s a clear parallel to LeBron James.” 

The point guard Dennis Schroder who played alongside LeBron for the LA Lakers in the 2020-21 and 2022-23 seasons, also agreed to Kroos’ statement having played with King James on the same team as well. However, for 33-year-old Kroos, he had to endure a difficult defeat in the Madrid derby despite scoring for Real Madrid.

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Real Madrid lose to Atletico in thrilling Madrid derby

The heated El Derbi, between Madrid rivals Real and Atletico is always a hotly contested affair and this time even Jude Bellingham couldn’t save Los Blancos from a loss. Toni Kroos netted what was Real’s only goal of the game as Atleti won the derby 3-1 with goals from Antoine Griezmann and a brace from Alvaro Morata.

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The loss saw Real’s 100% record since the start of the season come to an end at the Cívitas Metropolitano. With all to play for, this season’s La Liga race seems to be one of the most open and exciting in recent memory after last season’s champions Barcelona also drew 2-2 to Mallorca.


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WATCH THIS STORY| Cristiano Ronaldo and All About His Pets

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Written by:

Gaurav Krishnan


One take at a time

With extensive knowledge & over 8+ years of experience as a soccer journalist, Gaurav knows the intricacies of the beautiful game inside out and is now working with EssentiallySports. He played as a No.10 on the pitch during his younger years, modeling his game around his idol Zinedine Zidane.
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Edited by:

Jayant Chhabra