Tuesday, February 05, 2008
Richest Red Devil Ever?
We caught a glimpse last season of just how good Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo is, and this year he's been able to take all of his qualities and translate them directly into goals. Not just goals, but game-deciding, team-defining goals. Just as Arsenal receive plaudits for their one and two-touch, quick-passing game, Manchester United is all about movement, namely the movement of Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, new signings Nani and Anderson, and of course, Ronaldo.
Once a showpony prone to step-overs, flicks and ill-advised backheels, the Portuguese international has done what so many feel Leo Messi must do at Barcelona: know when to dribble, and when to release the ball for his teammates in more space.
I've watched a lot of United in the last few years and cannot think of a team that is more dominant in all of European soccer of late. Even with Inter's record-setting run last season in Serie A, never have I seen a team play with such movement and meaningful directness. And Sir Alex Ferguson's seemingly done it the right way, allowing his youngsters to grow in skill, stature and involvement as his senior class of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes lead the way and simultaneously recede into the past.
But, like everyone else, I am most impressed with Ronaldo, who took the negativity of the 2006 World Cup (where he was blamed by the English media as the catalyst that saw his United team mate sent off for England) and never lost his focus, resulting in serious contention for World Player of the Year. For me, he inhabits the realm of Theirry Henry at his best for Arsenal, albeit all over the pitch and at full speed.
And now he's set to be rewarded with the largest contract in the EPL, hopefully displacing Chelsea's John Terry as the highest paid player. It's a no-brainer if you ask me. As much as some love Captain England, if he's getting over $260,000 a week, such a wage for Ronaldo is certainly worth it, especially for what he means not only for United but the Premier League as a whole.
The Portuguese View [Guardian Football]
Ronaldo gets 44 million pound deal to stay at Man U till 2013 [India Times]