Lisbon to Manchester, Madrid to Turin. Could the next stop in football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo’s career be Hollywood?
Will he be soon be picking up Golden Globes instead of Ballon d’Or accolades?
Speaking at the recent Dubai International Sports Conference, the Juventus and Portugal striker revealed he has plans to delve into the world of acting once he hangs up his shooting boots.
“Life doesn’t stop after football,” he told the media at Madinat Jumeirah in December. “I need to prepare for my next life after football. I want to star in a movie.”
Easier said than done Ronnie ... Many athletes have tried their hand at acting — with results going from the ridiculous to the surprisingly good.
However, if it were simple, they would all be at it, and Ronaldo is never one to shy away from a challenge.
The 34-year-old has picked up more than 30 club titles during his time at Sporting, Manchester United, Real Madrid and current side Juventus.
He also has more individual honours than the 2020 Golden Globe winners combined.
Possibly the most recognised face of football today, and with an enigmatic smile or surly demeanour depending on the mood, Ronaldo certainly has crowd-pleasing appeal.
Here, Gulf News tabloid! takes a fun look at movies we reckon could be a good fit for Ronaldo:
SEQUELS AND FRANCHISES: WHAT WOULD RONALDO DO?
James Bond: Shooting back
Ronaldo dons his tuxedo as CR007, and sets out to bring down the evil Michep Blattini and his Force Intent on Fundamental Anarchy (F.I.F.A), who have spent decades infiltrating major corporations and governments around the globe through corruption and are set on bringing down civilisation through their network of deceit. Expect plenty of one-liners — “I don’t shoot to kill ... I shoot to score” — along the way.
Incredibles 3: Dash and Crysto
Bob and Helen Parr (Mr Incredible and Elastigirl) face their biggest challenge yet as their children Violet, Dash, and Jack-Jack as growing up fast and they decide to retire from the superhero business to look after their family. When his family are kidnapped by supervillain Var, it is up to speed-freak Dash and his ice-cool super-pal and son of Frozone — Crysto (guess who) — to save the day and rescue the Parrs.
Pitch Perfect 4
Ronaldo plays a college professor of sport science who agrees to become the coach of the a cappella group Barden Bellas, taking them back to boot camp — football style — in order to help the girls overcome their anxieties and rediscover their singing voices ahead of the Nationals. Hilarity guaranteed.
Marvel Cinematic Universe — Iron-Man 4: Assembly Instructions
Tony Stark’s long-lost brother Donnie discovers a prototype of his sibling’s Iron Man suit and faces a race against time to master his untapped genius, perfect the suit and get the old Avenging gang (Captain America, Hawkeye, Hulk et al) back together as a mysterious orb appears in the sky over Earth and threatens to destroy the planet.
Ronaldo takes over from Ben Stiller and stretches his acting prowess to the limit as dim-witted, narcissistic male model Derek Zoolander, who dons numerous different outfits from his extensive wardrobe as he fights corrupt fashion executives while getting into all sorts of crazy predicaments along the way.
ATHLETES WHO MADE THE BIG SCREEN SWITCH
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
The Rock is hard to resist — both as a former wrestler and a hunky actor who can play both serious and funny. With his bulking build, winning smile and pleasantly shiny head, Johnson topped Forbes list of highest paid actors last year — his Hollywood run has been so rock solid that he’ll be celebrating a 20-year anniversary next year. Yep, his first acting role was in 2001 in ‘The Mummy Returns’. Time flies when you’re raking in box office billions.
Retired MMA fighter Gina Carano had a rocky start in Hollywood, beginning with straight-to-DVD action drama ‘Blood And Bone’ in 2009. But she’s been landing much heavier punches since, including ‘Fast & Furious 6’ (2013) and ‘Deadpool’ (2016). Most recently, she may have missed the weigh-in ahead of her on-screen battle in the ‘Star Wars’ television series ‘The Mandalorian’ … No spoilers, though. Go watch.
Swish swish, Rick Fox is here to swim with big fish. Fox’s post-NBA career has been a rare slam dunk among a sea of missed shots, partially thanks to his ruthlessly symmetrical bone structure. Formerly of the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers, Fox first traded in hoops for scripts with the cringeworthy basketball drama ‘Blue Chips’ in 1994. Four years later, though, he levelled the score with Spike Lee’s much more successful sports flick ‘He Got Game’. He’s had dozens of recurring TV roles since, including ‘Ugly Betty’, ‘Melrose Place’ and ‘Big Bang Theory’.
Two words: ‘Space Jam’. In this slapstick Looney Tunes flick, Michael Jordan plays a Chicago Bulls shooting guard, who gives up his NBA career to follow his dad’s footsteps into baseball. Granted, Jordan has never had another mainstream role like that — but ‘Space Jam’ is legend status, so we’ll give him the win on this one.
Andre the Giant
Andre the Giant walked so that The Rock could run. The late French wrestler will be remembered for his massive screen presence in ‘The Princess Bride’, Rob Reiner’s acclaimed 1987 film. The atypically large wrestler had an excess growth hormone with resulted in gigantism, and his towering build made him uniquely suited to certain acting roles — including Bigfoot in the TV series ‘Six Million Dollar Man’.
You’ve seen her in ‘Furious 7’ as Kara and heard her in ‘The Expendables 3’ as Luna. But Rousey’s just getting warmed up; last year she appeared in a cameo as flight instructor in ‘Charlie’s Angels’ and booked a recurring role in Ryan Murphy’s first-responders drama series ‘9-1-1’.
No one could have conquered the deadpan humour of Drax in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ quite like Dave Bautista. There’s something about combining hefty muscles with overly literal comedy that works a charm. We’re sure there’s a whole generation of kids who don’t even know that Bautista had been a WWE Champion before he entered the acting ring, which is testament to just how good he is.
John Cena’s acting career is anything but invisible. From playing a misunderstood bull in the 2017 children’s animation ‘Ferdinand’ to a fire fighter-turned-babysitter in ‘Playing With Fire’, Cena demands to be seen. He’s not afraid to punch above his weight, either — he acted side by side with Andy Samberg, Jeff Goldberg and Orlando Bloom in HBO’s sports mockumentary ‘Tour De Force’ a couple years ago, a film that currently enjoys an 89 per cent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Former professional diver Jason Statham plunged straight into the deep end with Guy Ritchie’s ‘Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’ in 1998, then never came up for air. Statham competed in the 1990 Commonwealth Games as part of Britain’s national diving team — it came in handy for his part in shark thriller The ‘Meg’ (2018) — but he’ll be remembered best for bringing violent-ridden comedy to the screen in movies such as ‘Snatch’ and ‘Fast and Furious: Hobbs & Shaw’.
Like Statham, former Wimbledon footballer Vinnie Jones got his start on the big screen with ‘Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels’ (Guy Ritchie and athletes, a winning combo). Jones has since lodged his foot firmly into Hollywood’s front door, making sure he’s picked as a baddie every chance he gets. Our favourite performance from him? The hugely underrated Coach Dinklage in romantic comedy ‘She’s the Man’.
He may have gotten his start in the NFL, but Terry Crews has been blitzing his way through Hollywood ever since the sitcom ‘Everybody Hates Chris’ put him on the map. Crews — who can flex his pecs with the best of them — has more recently been blessing us as Lieutenant Terry Jeffords on sitcom ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’, a regular character since the series began airing in 2013. A touchdown if we’ve ever seen one.
David Beckham was never short of theatrics on the pitch, so why has he been so reserved with his acting off the pitch? The former English footballer has made a few memorable cameos, most notably in ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’ — both, unsurprisingly, Guy Ritchie titles. Still no main roles for Becks, though. With his recent obsession with Peaky Blinders, however, we wouldn’t be surprised to catch a TV appearance from him sometime soon.
...AND THOSE WHO DIDN’T
Try as he might, the huge Orlando Magic and LA Lakers centre just couldn’t get a foothold in Hollywood. Taking his bow in the hideous genie flick ‘Kazaam’ back in 1996 (six per cent on Rotten Tomatoes — and that is generous), his role choices were as good as his free throws, opting for parts in flops such as ‘Scary Movie 4’ and ‘Jack And Jill’. His best role was possibly as Smooth Smurf in the animated ‘Smurf 2’, and that film sucked too.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback almost wrecked cult classic ‘There’s Something About Mary’ with a performance as stale as week-old popcorn. His acting cameo was hardly a stretch as he was playing himself, but he couldn’t even pull that off. Needless to say, he never got many call-backs from producers for big screen again.
The real-life cartoon Rodman was imperious around the hoop for the Chicago Bulls, but his acting roles made the once-feared basketball machine a laughing stock. Forgettable action-comedy ‘Double Team’ alongside Jean-Claude Van Damme and spy farce Simon Sez — yes, it is as bad as it sounds — went straight in the DVD bargain bucket. Rejected.
COMMENT: RONALDO’S BETWEEN THE ROCK AND A HARD CASE
His foray into acting may be beyond the skills of Cristiano Ronaldo
His play-acting on the field has at times been Oscar worthy, but could Cristiano Ronaldo cut it in the cut-throat world of Hollywood?
When you take a look at the list of those athletes who managed to build a successful acting career, there are some recurring themes — bigger and bulkier is better, experience is key, and play to your strengths.
Ronaldo is taller than average at 6ft 2ins and certainly has a muscular physique, but he is no Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Hollywood’s biggest — in more ways than one — athlete/actor crossover.
Now before the ‘Wrestling isn’t a sport’ brigade start, Johnson won the national championship at college American football with University of Miami and almost made it in NFL — plus a brief stint in the Canadian equivalent — before the showbiz of WWF/WWE came calling. More than a decade of experience ‘acting’ in front of the cameras around the ring helped him make the switch to the silver screen almost seamlessly.
Other than a few cheesy adverts for shampoo and shaving equipment and a car-crash of a commercial for a Singapore store, Ronaldo has very little time in front of the camera in an acting role. He will need a rapid learning curve and make sure he picks the right movie, because one stinker can end a n acting career before it starts.
Former Wimbledon hard man Vinnie Jones has featured in almost 100 films. He is about the same height as Ronaldo and also a former footballer. But has taken his take-no-prisoners London gangster demeanour onto the silver screen with such conviction, it is almost as if he doesn’t need to get out of character to get into character (playing a take-no-prisoners London gangster in numerous films helps). And the fans love it.
The same goes for former diver and fellow Guy Ritchie favourite Jason Statham. He is an even bigger star than fellow Englishman Jones, but uses his angry stare and bulked up physique to great effect on screen. Again, he is known for playing similar characters in films (think angry cockney out to right wrongs for the greater good), but he easily comes across as convincing and you quickly forget he was a relative latecomer to acting. He also does all his own stunts and fight scenes. Could you picture Ronaldo landing a jet ski on top of a bus or going through a 10-minute full-contact fight scene? Me neither. It might mess up his hair or give him a boo-boo.
Typecast they all may be, but Johnson, Jones and Statham have broken into the acting mainstream by relying on their unique — sometimes caricature-esqe — portrayals to carve off their own little slice of Hollywood.
In Dubai last month, Ronaldo admitted the move to acting will take him out of his comfort zone — but he has always risen to the challenge.
“I must learn how to act, speak perfect English and also not to be nervous,” he said. “If I want to achieve this, I need to go out of my comfort zone. And I always want to learn something new.”
Good luck to him, but despite being a global icon, Ronaldo seems to lack that certain something Johnson, Jones and Statham possess. Be it a smouldering stare and raised eyebrow (Rock), an expletive-laden rant preceding a violent episode that is worryingly convincing (Jones), or full-on fisticuffs before jumping out a 10th story window (Statham).
Try as he might, this leap into the unknown may be a little too far and any foray into acting may be short-lived.