Portuguese outlet Sporting Lisbon is renowned for producing significant talents that have left their mark on the global stage, both with the club and at the international level. Some of the notable names include Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Nani, Pepe, and Ricardo Quaresma.
One such talent who emerged from Sporting’s illustrious academy is the former Portuguese international forward, Fábio Paím—a promising wonderkind who failed to reach his potential and retired recently. Lately, he is once again in the headlines after a comment from Cristiano Ronaldo on social media.
Who is Fabio Paim?
Fábio Miguel Malheiro Paim was born on February 15, 1988, in Alcoitão, Portugal. Paim initiated his career at the Sporting CP Academy in 2001. At the tender age of 13, he had already become a well-acknowledged talent within the youth set-up, earning a substantial salary of close to €5,000 per week, in addition to an annual bonus.
Despite being a highly talented prodigy at Sporting, Fábio Paim could not make a single first-team appearance. He trained alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo at the club, while Ronaldo made an astonishing move to Old Trafford, Manchester United, from where he went on to become one of the greatest of all time in the sport.
Following his transfer to the Premier League, Ronaldo himself praised his fellow Portuguese forward, saying, “If you think I’m good, just wait until you see Fabio Paim,” to reporters in 2003. These words from Ronaldo were enough to anticipate the quality and skills Paim would have possessed. Paim attracted interest from Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Unfortunately, the forward never really managed to unlock his true potential. He himself admitted to regretting some of his choices, as he engaged in off-field activities like partying. His life took a challenging turn, and he even spent some time in jail after getting caught with drugs in his possession.
Cristiano Ronaldo mocks Fabio Paim
Cristiano Ronaldo was once teammates with Fabio Paim at the youth level, and they shared the field until 2003. Paim, who later represented various clubs in Qatar, Malta, Lithuania, and Brazil, unfortunately, failed to make a substantial impact in his career, accumulating only 36 appearances in top-tier club football. His final stint at Starowice Dolne, a fourth-tier Polish club, marked the conclusion of his career as he retired thereafter.
During an interview, Paim shared the story of why he fell short of achieving great success in his career, despite being initially labeled as a top talent.
He claimed that his abilities were on par with Ronaldo and Messi, stating, “If I had half of Cristiano’s mindset, it wouldn’t just be him and Messi; it would be me, him, and Messi, and maybe he wouldn’t have won the Ballon d’Or that he has. Perhaps one of them would have been mine.”
In response, Ronaldo brutally mocked his former teammate with a comment on Instagram, writing, “Wtf. 👀👀👀 Who is this guy?”
While Paim had spoken of Cristiano’s Ballon d’Ors as a reference of what could have been if he stuck to working hard on the pitch, the Portuguese talisman’s comments came off as insensitive towards his fellow compatriot.
What are your thoughts on Cristiano Ronaldo’s comments on Fabio Paim’s claim? Share with us below.