Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Is Ronaldo The Best Soccer Player In The World?

Questions like this will dog Ronaldo till he stops playing, but they are definitely legitimate questions given the player's form the past two years, in which he has helped his club, Manchester United, dominate the game during this period of time. The number of live soccer games that the player has featured for his club and dazzled so many football fans worldwide has been phenomenal, and he has quickly risen to the top of the pile and an easily recognisable icon worldwide. His incredible tally of goals scored this season by playing as a winger officially, has also garnered global accolades for his versatility and skills in being able to strike as efficiently as he has coming in from the sides. Ronaldo has also developed a playing maturity that has seen him put behind his shameful World Cup exploits and not many still bring up the incident in which he prompted the referee to send his club teammate Wayne Rooney off in a crucial game between Portugal and England in the competition. It was an incident that haunted the player for months before he finally received forgiveness from his teammate and now friend, and also his club manager Alex Ferguson who stood by him during those troubled times, and helped develop him into the world class player that he is now.

Picking up his second successive Player of the Year award from the English FA from his exploits this year in the English game, his legitimacy as a true legend in the making in the game of soccer has once again come to the fore. If any, the one remaining criticism Ronaldo still receives is his tendency to ridicule and humiliate his fellow professionals with circus antics with the ball and making them look like clowns. This has angered many fellow professionals, while advocates of the player's ability will point to the players not being able to cope with his skill and ingenuity. There are also just as many critics in the game of football who feel that professionals in soccer should treat each other with mutual respect, and never make one another feel like idiots, which is something many players claim Ronaldo likes to do. The player himself has stated clearly that he never intends to dish out such treatment, and that he was just playing his natural game, which is to use ball tricks to confound and trick his opponents into mistakes. It is definitely a fair argument, but perhaps Ronaldo should also try to inject some humility into his game and attitude towards other players, as you can never become a true legend and be regarded by all with respect and love unless you treat others the same way.

His current club manager Alex Ferguson disagrees with this assessment and feels that the mischievious side to Ronaldo's game is what makes him so special, daring himself to break the barriers of logic and come up with plays that would deceive opponents and provide his own team with the advantage in games. However, there is also another side to Ronaldo's game which has come under intense scrutiny and criticism, and that is his tendency to go to ground easily, despite his ability to get pass players easily. Ronaldo's speed and pace has always been a clear weapon in his arsenal, and very often these attributes have been essential in helping to decide games of a tight nature for Manchester United. He is just as likely to fall under challenges as well, in controversial style and trying to get free kicks and penalties when the easier option might have been to dribble past opposing players. Added to that, Ronaldo has now started to complain about the physical treatment dished out by defenders, and has often tried to get opposing players booked by falling even under the merest of challenges, and rolling on the ground like he had been struck by a bullet or, even worse, a rocket.

These antics have continued to create new enemies for Ronaldo, but the player does not really care and is fully convinced that his style should not be changed and that others are merely jealous of his abilities and success. The one fear might be that players might get frustrated enough to want to harm him on the field, and with the speed of the game nowadays, a fatal challenge could end a player's career anytime. While special players like Ronaldo should always be protected, they have to help in their own cause by playing with a bigger heart and humility, for that can only help prolong their careers and influence in the game. Perhaps he is still young and petulant, but the earlier he learns, the sooner Ronaldo will become truly, the best soccer player in the world in recent times.

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