Is Ronaldo destined for greatness?
Premier League Manchester United
by Jonathan Stevenson (U1987325) 14 January 2008
To borrow a phrase from one of my colleagues, Cristiano Ronaldo is touched by the hand of genius.
2008 could well be the year that the irresistible Ronaldo stamps his greatness on the sport
Throw in a furious, fist-thumped-on-turf response to a failed penalty appeal, 10 minutes of Ronaldo hobbling around injured looking like he was about to cry and a further two minutes off the pitch to change his illuminous orange boots (complete with speed plate technology) and you have a performance of pure theatre.
I know Cesc Fabregas has been in magical form for Arsenal, but forget anyone else for 2007/08 PFA Player of the Year. Ronaldo deservedly won it last year and he should deservedly win it this year too. He is head and shoulders above everyone else.
Indeed, 2008 could well be the year that the irresistible Ronaldo stamps his greatness on the sport.
With United still in the hunt for the treble and Portugal primed for another crack at winning a major tournament at Euro 2008, he will not be short of occasions on which to leave his mark.
His only two real competitors for the best player in the world title – Brazil's Kaka (the holder), who has not been at his best so far this season, and Argentina's Lionel Messi, who is currently injured – will obviously not be in Austria and Switzerland, so the stage is all set for Ronaldo.
One note of caution – if the Madeira-born forward really has designs on greatness, he must ensure a display like the one in last season's Champions League semi-final second leg away at AC Milan is a one-off.
Ronaldo may have been tired at the end of a long season following on from a heavy World Cup campaign, but his disappearing act in the San Siro cast an unfortunate shadow over the previous eight months of brilliance.
Having starred in the World Cup in Germany and shone at Euro 2004 at the tender age of 19, the pressure of the big occasion clearly does not faze this ultra-confident young man.
But he must make sure that, in the manner of Zinedine Zidane, he fulfils his enormous potential on the very biggest stages.
If he continues in the same rich vein of form he showed at Old Trafford on Saturday, prepare to make space in the history books for Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro.
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