When your plane lands on the Portuguese island of Madeira, your journey terminates at Cristiano Ronaldo International Airport. From there you can take a car into town and get your head down at the Pestana CR7 Funchal, Madeira’s trendiest hotel located right on its glistening waterfront.
Real Madrid’s all-time record goalscorer, naturally, will be staring down on you from the walls along the corridors. The carpets are a luxurious thick green, to remind you of a football pitch - the setting for Ronaldo’s fortune and glory.
Spend one night there and you get an autographed postcard from the man himself. Stay a second night and you’re upgraded to a signed football.
Another one of these Pestana CR7 hotels – part-owned by Madeira’s favourite son – has since opened on the mainland in Lisbon with one due to open in Madrid and a further property imminent in New York.
Kick back and relax, pull up your CR7 blanket and on the complementary Apple TV stick on “Ronaldo”– the documentary.
Shower and revive and slip on your CR7 underwear, your CR7 denim jeans and your CR7 shirt. Give yourself a little splash of CR7 fragrance and lace up your handmade CR7 footwear and you’re ready for your trip out.
Next door you’ll find Museu CR7, dedicated to Ronaldo’s rampant individual and collective success. You’ll see replicas of his Champions League trophies, his Ballons d’Or and if you look carefully you’ll see one of his Goal 50 awards too.
Take a selfie on your #CR7Selfie app with the bronze Cristiano Ronaldo statue outside so you’ll have a memento forever.
Ronaldo’s impact as a footballer has been well-documented with four Champions Leagues, four Ballons d’Or and, now, five Goal 50 awards. No one has scored more goals for Real Madrid or for Portugal and he is destined to be remembered as one of the all-time greats. But he brings far more to the table than those great players who have gone before him.
“George Best has said a lot of footballers have been compared to him but only the Ronaldo comparison was flattering,” Simpson continues.
“Best was a new kind of footballer, he was a footballer pop star. You could say in the early noughties that David Beckham was the nearest thing we had to a pop star.
“After Ronaldo the bar’s been raised very high for a globally successful footballer.”
At 32, Ronaldo remains at the peak of his powers. His relentless consistency combined with his stunning physique means he is going to be around for some time yet. Real Madrid are having difficulties in working out their form this season but by the time spring rolls round, the European champions and their star forward will be back in the conversation.
His home island is fast becoming Ronaldo Land and in the future we will look back at this era as the one when one boy from Madeira conquered the world.