To be the world’s number one at something requires a level of commitment and consistency so serious, most people would give up at the mere mention of it. Take, for example, the life of Cristiano Ronaldo: Portugal’s pride and a person who’s almost become synonymous with football today. He took an interest in the sport at a very young age and trained like his life depended on it.

Being good at the game wasn’t enough for him. He wanted to be the best. And he was determined to fight anything that came in the way of his dream, be it a racing heart ailment, rejections or red cards. Today, he is the only European player to have five Ballon D’Ors to his credit. Celebrating his legacy by listing five leadership lessons his sporting career teaches us:

Hone your talent

We are all born with unique abilities. It’s up to us, however, to figure out what we’re really good at and, once discovered, to keep those skills alive through practice and persistence. Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, has been interested in football since he was a child. Instead of waiting for success in the sport to knock on his door, he decided to pursue his passion professionally. He didn’t let other people’s opinions get in the way of his dream. Even when he was chastised for a headbutt on Portsmouth’s Richard Hughes during Manchester United’s second match of the season, he accepted the three-match ban and focused on making a great comeback. He always let his talent speak for itself.

Setbacks are a stepping stone to success

In life, you will undoubtedly face setbacks. It is how you respond to them that determines your success or failure. Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, was a failure at a young age. He was kicked out of school for throwing a chair at his teacher. When asked why, Ronaldo stated, ‘He disrespected me.’ Throughout it all, his mother stood by his side and advised him to concentrate on football. He was then diagnosed with a racing heart condition at the age of 15, making it difficult for him to pursue sports as a career. Instead of admitting defeat, he underwent an operation and immediately returned to training. He is now one of the best footballers in the world! His story is nothing short of incredible.

Stay one step ahead of your competitors

It is not what you do, but how you do it that determines your success. In every career, you will face competition. You must be innovative and original in order to stand out. Cristiano Ronaldo, for example, has always attempted to outperform his opponents. He trains in such a way that he is prepared to score from anywhere in the opposing team’s half. He used to be a step-over champion. People began to notice his strengths and attempted to beat him at his own game as time passed. Before they could do that, he began working on other skills that needed to be honed. He made certain that his moves were never predictable.

Honour your mentor

When you reach the pinnacle of success, never forget those who helped you get there in the first place. Ronaldo has accomplished so much in his football career. He is now one of the best footballers in the world, having won five Ballon d’Or awards. Instead of getting carried away, he chooses to be humble and credits his first coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, with teaching him everything he knows about the sport. Despite their relationship’s ups and downs, he referred to Ferguson as his father and the most influential person in his life when he joined Real Madrid.

Never stop learning

They say that two things define you: your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything. Cristiano Ronaldo now has everything a person could want in life. He is wealthy, well-known, and powerful. He has received the most Ballon d’Or awards of any European player, with five. He is widely regarded as the best footballer in the world, a title that many would kill for. Despite this, he remains humble and hardworking. He continues to push his fitness levels with new drills in order to keep this position for years to come. It is not enough for him to be a good player. He aspires to be the best.