Starring: Cristiano Ronaldo, Cristiano Ronaldo Jr., Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro
Director: Anthony Wonke
Running Time: 88 mins
Ronaldo is a British documentary following the career of legendary footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, focusing on his Real Madrid days in the 2010s and his relationship with his family.
You may think that Ronaldo is arrogant and vain, but the great thing about this documentary is that he’s perfectly willing to face straight up to that. Whilst not the most riveting in footballing terms, this documentary is actually a surprisingly eye-opening watch into one of the football world’s biggest characters, and it has the potential to change your opinions about Cristiano Ronaldo.
If there’s anything that I really loved about this film, it’s that. Often, I like to see a sportsperson’s career be the focus of a documentary, but there’s a lot about this film’s decision to look more towards Ronaldo’s personal life that makes it a refreshing and engaging watch.
The greatest thing about it is the fact that we don’t follow a typical story where a major sportsperson blows their massive salary on parties and has multiple girlfriends in a short time period. Instead, the story here is a lot more tender and intimate, as we spend a lot of time seeing Ronaldo’s strong relationship with his son and his mother, as well as some fascinating background into his earlier life and the role of his family throughout his career.
In that, we get a documentary that’s more about the family life of one man. That may sound a little boring at first, but when we’re looking into the world of a man that so many of us have preconceptions about, there’s a lot to love, and I was hugely impressed by how this film managed to pull it off.
Despite that, there are a few downsides to this documentary. Whilst the family-oriented story was great to see, I still felt like the footballing side of things was a little underplayed. Particularly as the film almost entirely focuses on Ronaldo’s Real Madrid days, and knowing of the story back when he was at Sporting Lisbon and Manchester United, I felt that there was something a little incomplete about this film.
Also, the structure isn’t always one hundred percent consistent. When the film does look at the times before he transferred to Real Madrid, they’re shown in a few very short bursts as it they’re simple flashbacks. That takes away both from their impact on the story as well as the flow of the present day story. What’s more is that the film occasionally tries to present events as important when we haven’t had much back story or explanation about them, which, even as a football fan, would have been very helpful to be able to connect more with the people involved.
On the whole, however, I was pleasantly surprised by Ronaldo. It’s not a perfect documentary, and I don’t recommend it if you’re looking for a retelling of his sporting career, but the way it shifts the focus off football and onto a pleasant and interesting family-centred story was really great to see, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.4.