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Has Cristiano Ronaldo evolved too far?

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The debate about who is the world’s greatest player has revolved for nearly five years now around two names: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who now leads the line at Real Madrid after emerging as a tricksy winger at Manchester United. Only two other names are mentioned: Messi’s Barca teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta. Opinion is divided on the subject, often down party/club lines. But our recent spate of Clasicos may have provided us with an ultimate answer.

While overshadowed by Jose Mourinho’s manic rants, Pepe’s debatable red card and Messi’s magical goals, Cristiano Ronaldo toiled like a workman in his role as Real’s forward fulcrum. He was effective in the second match – scoring the deciding header from Angel Di Maria’s cross – but as the third match devolved into a shouting match and the fourth saw Real’s Champions’ League hopes fade as Javier Mascherano theatrically won a free kick outside his area, Ronaldo’s penchant for forward play was thrown into sharp relief.

Cristiano Ronaldo, deservedly, is the focus of most of Real’s attacking verve as he’s their best player. According to ESPN Soccernet he’s scored a remarkable 42 goals on the season, created a further twelve – scoring or creating 43.2% of all his club’s goals this term. Since he arrived at Carrington in 2003, he and his game have evolved a remarkable amount. He started at United as a wide forward with exceedingly tricky feet and a thunderous shot.

Now, Cristiano Ronaldo has evolved into the all-purpose forward: he’s tall enough and good enough in the air to act as a target man, has the same remarkable footskills as when he arrived, and his neck musculature must be seen (and gawked at) to be believed. He delivers “bullet headers” like almost no-one else. Physically, there may not ever have been a more perfect footballing specimen.

These qualities allowed him to become the centrepiece of a United squad which bullied the Premiership for three years before departing for pastures blanco. Now on the other side of the fence he has dominated La Liga, much like Messi has from Catalonia. But, since his evolution into such a dominating forward force, in the most important games he has yet to take the game consistently by the throat. His recent big match performances have been consistently solid and workmanlike, rather than those blistering games which Messi has so recently delivered.

It is obviously extraordinarily harsh and incorrect to suggest that United’s, and now Real’s failures lie at the feet of the Varnished One. When competing against Barcelona, very few clubs are able to cope and eleven players maketh a team, not one. He hasn’t been positioned as well as Messi – having players nearly, but not quite the same calibre as an Iniesta or Xavi. Tactically also, los Merengues have been set up to counterstrike, as is coach Jose Mourinho’s wont – a position which rankles football’s most expensive player.

But given his dominance both United and Real have been built around him, rather than his slotting in to upgrade a position. This isn’t meant to be criticism – if anything, it’s a compliment as very few athletes are able to walk into such a large club and have their skills demand the club be shaped around them. While both he and Messi are essentially now forwards without strict positional definition, you Messi would fit into any team in the world without that squad having to remodel around him. With Ronaldo, that’s not the case.

One example of this reshuffling – an on-the-fly job, even -which easily springs to mind was during his last match in a Red Devil shirt: the 2009 Champions’ League final which saw Wayne Rooney shunted out to the left so Ronaldo could weave his magic down the centre. Where each had come to United to play one position, Cristiano Ronaldo’s skills grew so much that on the biggest stage, his game forced Sir Alex Ferguson into making a tactical decision (again, an understandable one given Ronaldo’s scoring prowess) where he and Rooney switched roles.

Perhaps he finds chances to impose himself on the biggest matches limited because as he’s grown into such a fantastic player, his role has become less defined. Over their recent Clasico binge Mourinho favoured a 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-3 formation with Ronaldo alternatively being charged with creating, or finishing – but never starting in the same “position”. He is the utility forward, told to “make stuff happen”. While Gonzalo Higuain and now Karim Benzema have been effective playing alongside Ronaldo, it appears as if his presence so dominates the front half that other forwards are either overshadowed or are forced to get out of his way.

In simple terms, it seems as if other players share the game with Messi. With Ronaldo’s combination of physical and mental gifts, it seems it’s his game and he lets you join in. Sometimes. This is ultimately frustrating for such a player – Michael Jordan went through the same process in Chicago – but rewarding. For the moment, Lionel Messi’s ability to blend with all types and impose his will without dominating others makes him an irresistible choice as “World’s Best”. It may be a matter only of circumstance that denies Ronaldo his claim at that title. Or it could be that his game evolved so much he won’t approach that level until used in a definite position which matches his unmatched skill-set.

For more analysis and opinion, shoot across to Balanced Sports.

Comments (60)

  1. Your statement are “Messi would fit into any team in the world without that squad having to remodel around him”, but why Argentina squad in world cup 2010 and 2006 has failed with messi on the team???

    • 1.2006 he was only 18 or 17 years old..never start from the begining.
      2.with all my respect for diego (legend) he can’t be a manager..the team not running wel. fact that they eindeed as 4 for wc qualification..

      but why don’t you say that he always outshined the stars like ronaldo,xavi,iniesta end everbody play against him..coz he is on different level..end messi can play that good at anywhere end anyclub.end ronaldo is not second best after messi..

    • Well, in 2006 Messi was not really on the team. He was a sub, and the coach didnt play him. It was Pekerman’s fault for not playing him because the only two or three times he field him, he complemented Riquelme beautifully. In 2010, again the coach was the problem. Maradona didn’t field a team at all, because he doesnt know how to build a team. Argentina in the 2010 world cup was a flop because Maradona has no tactical awareness. What the author in this article is taking for granted is that the coach will be doing his job, something that Argentinean coaches have forgotten to perform.

      • Maybe you’re right, coach was the main factor in argentina failed. I think i realize that Messi fit argentina better than Ronaldo In Portugal..haha.

    • you have it the nail on the head, well said !

    • good one mate

  2. To Messi is the greatest player in the world. not since zinedine zidane have we seen a player of such class.

    watching him the other night, his leg speed is incredible. he makes balls that are 60/40 with ease. Yes Ronaldo is a fantastic player, but Messi is destined to be remembered as one of the all time greats.

    http://www.beatingtheodds.co.uk

  3. Finally an article that takes into account all the variables, I cannot agree with this more!

    • I agree 100%. It really is refreshing to read holistic journalism rather than most of the partisan nonsense.

  4. Messi work rate is much higher . He can play in any team because he is just that good. Ronaldo is good but nothing special. Messi ia a special, highly skilled player

    • you don’t actually know that messi is a good player in any team because he has only been on two teams. argentina and barca. while ronaldo has been to 3 different clubs and has done amazing. btw ronaldo is something special. don’t you see his stats; they speak for themselves. if he wasn’t special, he wouldn’t be able to score 42 goals in 50 games. how can you not say that is not greatness. yes, messi has better stats and he is the best player in the world. but to completely blow off ronaldo is ridiculous.

    • his work rate is higher in BARCA! cause BARCA has played as a team for many years…messi hasnt shown that he can play in any team so you cant prove that…we see him in argentina and his footwork is the same but hes not as consistent ronaldo on the other hand has been consistent in manu madrid and portugal he shows that he can carry a team on his shoulders messi just benefits from the best midfielders in the world

      • you are obviously a blind ronaldo fan, not seeing how good messi is. ronaldo fits in at man u, yes thats right but he also had great midfielders like giggs, paul scholes(rated best midfielder of the decade). He has done well at madrid aswell and has also had some great players to provide him like ozil, di maria, alonso…. He has shown nothing at portugal and people say messi had a poor world cup, although he did not score he set up countless opportunities for his teammates. Ronaldo on the other hand scored a fluke goal against a poor team and raelly did nothing so i dont see how he carries them on his shoulders….. Messi is by far the best player in the world, ronaldo is 2nd but not the best.

  5. Unrealistic thinking and inaccurate analysis. If you ever want to know who is Messi then watch his solo goal against Real Madrid and then watch with the camera from above you will see a player who read the plan of Mourinho’s plan very well and use this information to choose a very efficient path through the defense so that defenders were reaching him late, and there are other great aspects of this player as well. I hope we see better analysis next time!

    • Ali, I would never suggest Messi’s not the best player in the world – he is, and I think the Clasicos proved that beyond any doubt that still remained.

      I’m suggesting that Ronaldo’s game has evolved to the point where he doesn’t actually have a definite position other than “forward”. As a result of this his mere presence makes for difficulty integration with other forwards, no matter how sublime his skill-set is.

      I’d agree with Rob that Messi’s work rate (especially defensively) is greater and with you in his ability to read the game. For mine, Messi is the best in the world (one of the best ever), but Ronaldo is perhaps a victim of the breadth of his own talents and circumstance despite having perhaps as many (or more) physical tools at his disposal.

      • Hello Matt;
        I think you are right Ronaldo is the victim of his own talent, the press, coaches who think he is the answer to all their problems and a mixture of fame and ego. As player he has all it takes to be a player history will remember but unfortunately he has a problem of inconsistency since coaches give him too many things to do especially since he went to Real Madrid, but I think in MU he had a suitable role for him that showed his good qualities.

        I apologize because it wasn’t very clear what you said and nowadays there is a big anti FC Barcelona movement everyone is out for FC Barcelona’s blood and I don’t know what Barca did to them. I think they forgot how the story evolved, in the first el Clasico Ronaldo pushed a coach and Ramos pushed down many FC Barcelona players but no body blamed them in fact they were making fun of FC Barcelona’s players and in the second one the ref denied Villa a penalty and gave one to Marcelo at the same spot after Marcelo faked it against Alves. Real Madrid players continued to use their physical and defensive play in the Cope del Ray which cost FC Barcelona injuries like Ineista and Adriano and in the fourth one Alves use a strong clash with Pepe to send him off(let’s remember that Alves suffered from faking first so he used the same technique like Marcelo! ) moments later Marcelo stepped on Pedro’s leg which may be the only reason why they replaced him with Affelay who used Marcelo’s side to pass to Messi, Barca players used sneaky methods to protect themselves and win and I don’t think that was and is wrong but let’s remeber they lost three players to physically harsh playing, regarding the last el classico it was good except that incident between of Mascherano which I don’t why he fell instead of at least bothering Higuain and I wish the ref counted the goal so people will stop their accusations. Look at the approaches of FC Barcelona and MU to the final Barca wants to win as we can see but MU wants to beat Barca and I think this summarizes why Barca are loved by many people because they play real football like a team , they can inspire people and I wish they continue. I wish you would write an article telling the whole story of el classicos not just the parts that make Barca look bad like many do, and if you write such an article let me know so I can read it please

  6. Ronaldo is very good on great teams, but when push comes to shove I’d take Messi any day of the week, the fact Messi never wants to miss a training session or game and gets up after been fouled, and doesn’t swan dive when someone breathes on him, makes him a class act that Ronaldo isn’t !

  7. this is absolute rubbish. not once did your incoherent ramble make any sense. Messi is far better than christiano.. it’s blatantly obviousy! anyone who’s played the game at a decent level and has a true understanding of it will say that. When will these ridiculous comparisons stop. YOU ARE WITNESSING one of the greatest players of all time.. ENJOY IT!
    and for the record i think ronaldo’s fantastic.

    • Rob, I agree. Personally, I think Messi is the better player, and I believe the article reflects that in several places, but I’d go as far as to say Cristiano Ronaldo has more physical tools to succeed – simply as a result of his physique.

      I’m not trying to beat down either Ronaldo or Messi, just wondering if perhaps Ronaldo’s combination of skills and situation haven’t allowed him the chance to challenge for the title of world’s best, as it were.

      • ronaldo might be more physically fit than messi but the skills which messi possesses makes him far more better than any other player. ball never gets away from his foot. he has got vision which is far better than ronaldo. ronaldo may run fast and seem more fit, but any day messi is better.

    • The thing i s mr rob Ronaldo is the best you have to feel for him the lad has been through so much why not put messi in a team not made specifically around him if you remember it was not until guardiola came that messis talents evolved a manager is key to a players success guardiola uses messi to the very best of his strengths whereas mourhinio does not. Ronaldo tries very very hard never misses a training session and always comes 2-3 hrs early and leaves last. His genius cannot be undermined aS neither can be the laws of physics. Ronaldo does not dive much now well it truth be told hes stopped diving the only reason he doesnt get up is because by the time he will the ball will be gone whereas messi has more center of gravity and can get up quiker he can weave through players better as he is smaller but ronaldo is the ultimate footballer his detication is beyond reach the mere way he takes his freekick defying all the laws of physics is testament to the fact. Though i havenot ended my argument i will rest my case here saying that ronaldo is the best while messi is fantastic but lucky

  8. Nice Theory.But the truth is that CR is put up top in big games because his complete lack of effort on the defensive side leaves his team too vulnerable at the back. The problem is that he is not a true striker but has no interest in honing any skills that don’t involve scoring or trick passing. Until that changes, he will never be the player he thinks he is. So, in fact, he needs to evolve some more.

  9. Well Messi is a genius if he doesn’t scores he makes other players around him score.His number assists are even more than ronaldo.so no debtate and it makes me laugh the whole evolving thing.Losers always find excuses,and thats a universal law.LOL

  10. Ronaldo is the best!messi a sook,thinks he and Barca r untouchable!Barca r protected BY REF’S! RONALDO IS SEXY ,MESSI IS NOT!

  11. i agree totally with marie ronaldo is sexy and messi monster but that’s not the point ronaldo is the best his tricks are briliant and he had scored ecxellent goals but mourinio do not know how to use him (sir ales ferguson knew)while barca is protected by the ref’s.

  12. the true sign of genius is does the player make the other players around him better with Messi the answer is always yes, with Ronaldo sometimes. I remember seeing Messi in Venezuela at Copa America, I turned to my friends and said “he will be the best in the world, in a couple of years or so” everyone else in the VIP section thought I was crazy, crazy enough to get a couple of signed shirts fromb him after the game ;-)

  13. I agree to most of the article. CR7 though is far more deadlier in more facets of the game (setpiece and free kick). CR7 will probably have a longer career being effective and a threat than Messi. If I were to build a team I’d pick CR7 based off his athleticism and wide range of skills. Messi however has a lower center of gravity and also faster legs. With those legs he does not run with a longer stride either. (CR7 is taller, takes fast but longer strides, especially for his step-overs and scissors, so will more likely go to ground on any challenge). Those 3 factors is is why Messi dribbles magnificently at speed and able to change directions quickly. But the magic of Messi comes from the Magic of La Masia. The system they have creates ample space (by constant movement) for all attacking players. Also he has trust in his great midfielders who have great vision and skill. CR7 was more successful at ManU because he had trust in a solid midfield to provide service and help on attack. In short, better midfield, trust, and space are the true factors that separate the two elite players in the game. Messi has all three (space though only in Barca, there’s less of it when playing for his country) and CR7 at this moment in time does not.

    • Just reading all this nonsense makes me realize, that when you are a loser you always make excuses,Ronaldo is no where close to messi’s magic, some idiots are saying that he ha to prove himself in the premier league haha, he’s going against Ronaldo in the same league and winning every battle from stats, championships you name it, just look what he’s done to the premier league elites in the champions league, he’s destroyed them, as in migrating to another team is not up to him, because he doesn’t have the premadonna attitude that led Ronaldo leave Man U, which to my opinion was a very selfish move by Ronaldo,and look where that has led him hahaha! I can’t recall hearing or reading some article about ronaldo being the best ever, but messi is compared to the best of all time.

  14. LOL, are you kidding? Messi would never make it in the EPL!

  15. Ronaldo isn’t trusted to help out defensively and that’s why he’s played as a striker in big games.

    If he was more selfless he would be more effective against the best teams. All too often he tries to score when his tremendous talent could be better used to create.

    For me his best season was the 06/07 season at United. He didn’t score as many as he does now, but he was much more involved in the build up play and because he was a provider as well as a finisher he was virtually unplayable.

    In a sense he’s become too one dimensional, too predictable and is easier to stop than Messi if you have top quality players.

    • This is true because in that season he was put in to attack from a deeper more central position and into the wing or just straight down (Similar to a deep lying attacking midfielder/winger). But now Mourinho reversed that and uses him simply as a goal scorer who plays in any forward position in which the ball is available.
      This is where the difference between he and messi lies. Messi is not a conventional striker, he drops deep to receive the ball from xavi and iniesta who enable him to work interchangeable with them.

      I think mourinho will figure this out by next year and he will be used let to work more effectively with ozil and di maria/the new kid they just got.

  16. ronaldo is the most naturally gifted player. messi’s football brain, work ethic and consistency puts him as the best performed player. he hasn’t shown the same class with argentina and it does leave the argument open as to how much influence he would have in a lesser team than barcelona.
    agree with all you’ve written but would raise national performance on the big stage as a failing thus far of messi.

  17. you know whats funny? when people say that messi is good becuase he gets assisted by xavi and iniesta. this is bias since messi has more assists than both of them combined. in argentina he doesnt have that freedom so he ends up being the playmaker… if you watch the games youll notice that. the team is good becuse everybody does their part. people get you facts straight.

  18. messi vs ronaldo? who makes the team better is a good indicator of who is the total footballer. i don’t disagree that ronaldo has superior physical talents…stronger, faster, taller, harder shot. however, who makes the team better? look at ManU – since ronaldo left, rooney has become the player he was destined at everton. ronaldo stifled the development of rooney, and others at ManU…and you can’t say the manager was to blame – SAF knows how to manage a club better than any other manager – pains me to say since i am a true red.

    Messi on the other hand knows how to fit within the team. those that say his performances with argentina – a lesser talented team than barca – don’t understand football. he doesn’t need to score goals to make an impression on the game – he scored none, yet helped argentina to the quarterfinals, where diego’s coaching (lack thereof) was exposed. Messi creates chances for his teammates, and for himself…how many of ronaldo’s goals are from setpieces, penalty kicks? how many from run of play? with the offensive talent real has, how many opptys does ronaldo create for them?

    both great players, but one sets himself apart based on his respect for his teammates, his club, his manager and the game.

    • Can people like you please stop judging players by their personality; maradona is a pr*ck yet that didnt stop him from being a fantastic footballer. Who cares if ronaldo doesnt “respect” his team-mates, if he didnt would he have been made captain of the national team? And as for penalties, ronaldo has had 4 more penalties than messi in la liga this season, and scored 5 more goals. Do the math mate..

  19. @ LMAO…LOL u should never make it in the commenting box!!

  20. Wow, I agree with you on this topic. Its rare to find good articles on football players and teams that aren’t biased and one sided. Not just that but it actually looked at more than what meets the eye and what so many people don’t understand. Good read.

  21. bahahahaha lol messi can play in any team lol. you got that backwards. Ronaldo has played in every team. messi wond even dare

  22. Ronaldo is the better player he has proven he can play in any team. having played in 3 different leagues and being successful. while messi only been in one club he would fail any where else like he fails in Argentina because messi with xavi or iniesta is noting

  23. messi has been part of barcelona since his youth and d understanding btw him,xavi and iniesta is awesome.d linkup play is brilliant btw dem .i dont think messi more skilled dan ronaldo but certainly delievers magically on bigger stage unlike ronaldo who feels d pressure of occasion……so yes messi is presently d best in world but let dis madrid team settle down with ozil and dmaria and bringing in a world class center 4ward along with higuain den well see 4 ourselves…….

  24. Messi is nothing without barcelona, which is why he will never leave the club. Once he proves himself in the EPL then well talk. Messis overated, more credit needs to be given to Xavi and Inesta. Theyre the reason for his success

  25. Just reading all this nonsense makes me realize, that when you are a loser you always make excuses,Ronaldo is no where close to messi’s magic, some idiots are saying that he ha to prove himself in the premier league haha, he’s going against Ronaldo in the same league and winning every battle from stats, championships you name it, just look what he’s done to the premier league elites in the champions league, he’s destroyed them, as in migrating to another team is not up to him, because he doesn’t have the premadonna attitude that led Ronaldo leave Man U, which to my opinion was a very selfish move by Ronaldo,and look where that has led him hahaha! I can’t recall hearing or reading some article about ronaldo being the best ever, but messi is compared to the best of all time.

  26. Messi has scored 99 goals and 46 assists at club level in 2 season. Ronaldo 78 and 24 assists the same as above. Messi and Ronaldo are playing at the best ever level. These two players are greats of the game already. Ronaldo is the most complete player I have ever seen, he has everything. Messi proved against madrid that he is playing the best football in the world.

    People enjoy, because these two guys by the end of there careers will be the 2 greatest players in history!!

  27. The more I think about it, it becomes clearer that Ronaldo is a carbon copy of Kobe Bryant, or, more exactly, Kobe’s situation in the immediate post-Shaq years. Kobe was the most preternaturally gifted player in the game, with an attitude, and his teams were built mainly around his incredible gifts. One night, he would score 80 points, another, 12, and disappear. People were so afraid to give Kobe a role, surround him with players, and ruin the perception that it was “his” team. Meanwhile, the Spurs were dominating the league in a quiet, unassuming manner, with players who each had a definite role in a solid system. Does anyone think less of Kobe, now that he’s playing with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, and Ron Artest? Certainly not. Perhaps Madrid need to stop worrying about the “Ronaldo” show. If he had a great team around him, and won 5 la Liga titles and 2-3 CL’s, nobody would think that the players cheapened it. Do Iniesta, Xavi, Pique, or Puyols detract from the Messi legend? Does anyone downgrade Pele’s national team exploits because he was paired up front with another all-time great in Garrincha?

    For what it’s worth, I believe that if both players switched places, they’d have similar results. Ronaldo is the most physically gifted player that the game has probably ever seen, and I would love to see what he could do with a dominant midfield like Barca’s. With Messi, he’s the most unassuming great you’ll ever see, yet he just finds some way to make it happen. It would be interesting to see him with the kind of space and leeway Ronaldo is afforded at Madrid.

    • I agree with what you said to a almost a total extent. Building on your Kobe analogy/comparison I believe, especially with this sport though compared to basketball, how a team plays and their system and tactics is what factors in most in victory and titles. The Lakers are successful primarily because of Phil Jackson. But in truth its the triangle offense system that Jackson employs that sets his team apart and has given him great success with the Bulls and the Lakers. It’s a system that is set to create space for a player to operate or get a clear open shot.

      For Barcelona they spread apart and constantly move position to create space and pass the ball very well. The prototypical Barca player is very quick, highly aware, with good to great technical skills (David Villa fits that mold pretty well). You watch majority of the Madrid games, they often times pass clumsily or strong, and also have a tendency to crowd the area where the ball is, as if to show little confidence. As if they believing the player they passed to would probably lose possession. This is apparent when they rely heavily on counter-attack when faced with a formidable defense (the equivalent of basketball’s transition offense).

  28. who was d star when argentina won world cup under20 recently? Who was d star in copa 2007? Who was fifa’s world’s 2nd best player in 2007 while ronaldinho was stil at barca? Who provided villa with 2assists against r.madrid last year? Who cn beat d whole back 4 n score? He cn also score freekicks, his conversion rate is beta dan ronaldo’s, b a setpiece or during play. N if epl is gud as u think,y havnt dy won many european cups lyk la liga? Y hav only 3teams won d league titles in d past 2 decades?

  29. messi is a fantastic player because he has been in barcelona since he was 12 and hasn’t moved around from one club to another. psychologically, this is an advantage because he’s been there for so long that it’s like home for him. and people tend to perform better where they feel comfortable. so what iam saying is that if ronaldo was in just one team from his childhood he will probably have been better than messi because he has the skill, the agility and the speed and stamina that is essential to be the world’s best player.

    • i do believe that messi will be amongst the greatest of all time.
      when ronaldo was playing for madrid in the semis, the other madrid players were keeping the ball in the middle of the pitch and they were not pushing forward to help ronaldo score and he hardly got the ball.

  30. @Pablo
    no club can acquire messi, dey dont have the balls to bid for him, so u talkin bout Epl is all bullshit, Every players dream is to play for Real, Barca and Acmilan, thats y dey work so hard to be recognised by these teams. Ronaldo is good, messi is the Lord. Stop hatin just recognise. Wot has ronaldo ever done for portugal. So country is not a point for comparison.

  31. good article. ive always thought something like that, but you put it into the right words. Just want to say I tihnk alot of the people who are being critical to the article must not be reading it properly. It makes a lot of sense.

    • Some people are being critical and some aren’t really (just continuing the favorite debate of Messi vs Ronaldo). I critiqued and added my own view in 2 previous posts concerning Ronaldo’s evolution and mattwood040′s view that the teams’ built around him. My comments focused on the two elite players’ qualities that set them apart from all the rest but I put more weight on their own successes, or lack of, so far on coaching, system or tactics (offensive as well as the defensive plan against each of them) and precisely the quality of their support (midfield). Otherwise, its quite a good article which leaves enough room for commentary/discussion.

  32. i think ronaldo made a mistake when he left united……he shud never have left……..he scores loads at real but he is not as terrifying as he used to be at UNITED……nd the sole reason for this is that Mourinho is not the best option for him as a manager……..
    and talking about big match temperamemt, ronaldo used to turn up on every big ocassion wen at United…best is the Champions league final with chelsea….But at real its not possible…..who the hell plays with no recognized striker in a champs league semi-final-answer is MOURINHO…….

  33. nd its not tat mourinho is not a gud manager….he’s great but not suited to a player wit such high levels of individual brilliance…….he is great at forming teams……tough teams…….not teams around a player……..in his teams,all players have to be equal.But wit ronaldo tats just not possible.Mourinho’s tactics has always demanded 100% from his players both in attack nd defense…….but we all know RONALDO is all but a defender……but i think he’s gone backwards in tat aspect of his game coz towards the end of his united career,he had started tracking back and fight to win back the ball…….

  34. And as for MESSI , the only thing I have to say is that in my lifetime,I WOULD LIKE TO SEE HIM PLAYING FOR ANY OTHER CLUB IN THE WORLD OF HIS CHOICE AT LEAST FOR 1 SEASON

    • I agree with you asjay, but Ronaldo left for a number of reasons and factors-his father’s wish/dream, bigger money, closer to home, better weather, less hard challenges, less fan negativity (winking incident vs England), and partially ego perhaps thinking he’d get far more recognition if he was the brightest star at Real and win awards and titles. Records are going to be broken, but titles will be harder against Barca. The team built at Real isnt Mourinho’s complete control, Perez and Valdano made some bad buys. Remember these two want fast results and big names for making the club alot of money. Mourinho at the start was not completely happy with the team, he wanted more acquisitions but was told to develop and deal with what he has. Teams are rarely ever a success built around one player. I lastly agree with you for Messi would like to see him join another team but has a 1% chance of happening. Preferably a similar move like CR7′s, from a team with a talented midfield and solid back defense (ManU and SAF’s recipe) to any team that isn’t.

  35. Sorry, how you can you say that Messi can fit with all players in all systems? He’s only ever been a success for one club with one sort of system and player…

    • Red Ben,

      On re-reading the piece the word “feel” was omitted from the sentence “While both he and Messi are essentially now forwards without strict positional definition, you Messi would fit into any team in the world without that squad having to remodel around him.”.

      A personal opinion, but he’s played exceedingly well under Frank Rijkaard and Pep Guardiola at Barcelona (similar, but not the same style). As for his Argentina performances, he’s been excellent (if not his Barcelona self) for several managers, and under Maradona especially, playing within a different formation or style practically every other match.

      We’ll never know how much Messi fits in with other sides until he moves club teams. Really, it’s all conjecture but after watching dozens of hours of him so far this season the sense I get from watching him is that he would fit in.

  36. Well-written article, nicely done. Can’t help but agree for the most part.