Fábio Paim, three years younger than Cristiano Ronaldo, shared the Sporting youth academy with the renowned player, both starting their journeys together. While Cristiano Ronaldo achieved remarkable feats and won titles, Paim, unfortunately, fell short of fulfilling his potential. Recently, he caused a stir by claiming that, if he had the dedication of his former teammate, he could have competed for the Ballon d’Or, eliciting a response from Ronaldo himself.
In an interview with the British newspaper The Sun, Paim suggested that Cristiano Ronaldo “should” have given him one or two Ballon d’Or awards, based on the fact that Paim did not achieve the expected success.
“When I was playing, if I had the same level of effort and commitment, I would have been better than him. Speaking of pure technique, I was better. I was a little Ronaldinho. But as I can prove, technique alone doesn’t get us anywhere,” Paim stated.
After the interview’s repercussions, Paim continued to discuss his career and relationship with Cristiano Ronaldo. In an appearance on the Sem Remorsos podcast, he revealed details about his friendship with the star and reminisced about the days when, as teenagers, they shared meals at McDonald’s near the Sporting training center. Paim reiterated his controversial statement.
“I gave an interview and said, somewhat jokingly, that I thought Cristiano should offer me one of the Ballon d’Or awards, but in humility. Who am I compared to the ‘father’? If I continued to work and had half the mindset that Cristiano has, maybe it wouldn’t be him and Messi. It would be me, Messi, and Cristiano. We would be in the fight, and Cristiano wouldn’t win the Ballons he has. Maybe one would be mine,” Paim jokingly said.
This time, Ronaldo’s response to Paim’s provocation did not go unnoticed. In reply to a video of Paim’s comment posted on Instagram, Ronaldo made an ironic comment: “Wtf. Who is this guy?” (What the f…, or What the heck is this?).
Currently 35 years old, Paim is retired, with records indicating four goals in 58 games during his professional career. With stints at 19 clubs, including Chelsea’s B team in 2008/09, he, a product of Sporting’s youth academy, never played for the senior team of the Lions. In 2007, Paim represented Portugal in the UEFA European Under-19 Championship, playing two games without scoring.
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