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Why Cristiano Ronaldo is good for football and England

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Roma midfielder David Pizarro has hit out at Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo saying that his tricks are unnecessary and show a lack of respect for the opposition. He says Ronaldo is a show off and big headed. Whilst this comment has all the hallmarks of being a great big dish of sour grapes, I wonder if he has a point.

I know that if Ronaldo was performing needless step-overs in the middle of the field against the team I support, I would be upset, frustrated and probably yell at my team encouraging someone to ‘put him under’. That’s human nature and I think everyone could understand that.

This is the second time this season that this issue has come up in relation to Manchester United players. In the FA Cup tie with Arsenal which United won comfortably there was a passage of play where Nani had a little game of ‘keepy-ups’. This incensed the Arsenal players and two or three of them tried to exact immediate revenge. Indeed, Gallas was seen kicking Nani from behind off the ball a few minutes later.

So is what has become known as showboating a great piece of skill and entertainment or the demonstration of a lack of respect for the opposition and something that should be frowned upon?

Well, as a Watford and England fan I don’t feel truly qualified to give an opinion, as the last England player to have that sort of flair was probably Paul Gascoigne and the last Watford player, was probably John Barnes. Either way, none of ‘my’ players are likely to be rebuked for this type of thing.

As football fans we can all admire the defensive qualities of a Maldini or Ferdinand, the hardness of a John Terry or Cannavaro. We can gasp at the agility of keepers like Cech and Casillas. We can sit back and recognise the driving brilliance of Steve Gerrard, the crossing of David Beckham or the finishing prowess of Ruud Van Nistlerooy. Having said all of that, it is the flair players, the skilful ones, the ‘show offs’ that get us all out of our seats.

England are crying out for a flair player who can run at people with pace and beat them with skill. David Ginola was bemoaning the lack of such players the other day after the France against England game. Not only are they effective, they are wonderful to watch.

In a list of greatest ever players in the Premier League who would get mentioned? Cantona, Zola, Bergkamp, Henry? Shearer would make the list and he would be the exception to the rule. The other names are all flair players. They are all players who produced tricks and skills that were not always necessary as such, but they entertained the fans more than any others.

Most of us love watching players who can do special things with the ball. We might not like it when they do it against our team, but as a neutral, it is exciting and fun to watch.

Football is an entertainment industry. It relies on people wanting to watch it. It is these fantastic players such as Ronaldo that bring in the crowds, bring in the money and encourage youngsters to ‘have a go’ at doing what they do.

When any of the players I have mentioned get or got the ball their teams’ supporters would rise in expectation and anticipation. A buzz goes around the ground and everyone waits to see what will happen. The opposition supporters panic and yell instructions to their team to stop the man with the ball. Doesn’t matter how you do it, just stop him.

Without players such as these the game could become very dull. They are needed. They are admired. A couple of years ago Ronaldinho scored two great goals for Barcelona against Real Madrid at the Bernabau. There are few hatreds like that of the Madrid fans for Barcelona, yet after his goals, the Madrid fans rose to applaud his skills. Great football skill transcends all rivalry. That is why Mr Pizarro should be embarrassed by his comments.

What Ronaldo does is not a lack of respect. It is a supreme young athlete who is super fit, super talented and super confident. He wants to show the World how good he is and he wants people to think he is the best. Yes, if you like, he is showing off. Why shouldn’t he? Ronaldinho shows off when he looks one way and passes the other. Henry shows off when he scores a back heeled goal or pretends to cross the ball while he actually makes a little pass. Zola and Bergkamp constantly showed off their ability by doing the difficult thing brilliantly rather than taking the easy option.

The great players of the past were all show men. Pele showed off when he shot from halfway and dummied the keeper by missing the ball on purpose. Was he disrespectful? Maradona had more tricks than almost any other player. He was just supremely talented, not disrespectful. George Best, according to legend, used to beat his man and then let him recover so that he could beat him again. Is that disrespectful or brilliant and entertaining?

I think it is fair to say that Cristiano Ronaldo is a show off and a big head. Whilst they are not qualities I would normally admire in people I make an exception in the case of brilliant footballers. If I had the ability he has I would undoubtedly show it off and I would undoubtedly be big headed. I would have every right to be. If I looked like he does and had his money I reckon I would be pretty unbearable!

So I say, shut up Pizarro. Long may Cristiano Ronaldo continue doing his tricks, entertaining us all and annoying the hell out of the opposition.

Graham Fisher writes at Views of a fan. Article originally written for Soccer News.

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Comments (41)

  1. He’s a great player. But can he whine less and stop acting like he doesn’t actually have to be fouled to get a free kick but merely has to fall when he wants.

  2. He’s detestable in so many ways, but as a footballer he is near perfect. But, check his assists ratio. If he could improve on that then he would be just about the best there has ever been.

  3. Have to agree with the author of this article. Its refreshing to hear his comments and I agree with his suggestion that quality transcends rivalry. I am a Utd fan through and through but doesn’t mean I didn’t admire (so called show-off) players like Ronaldinho, Kaka, Bergkamp, Zola, Gerard and Henry. Have to say I applauded Nani when he juggled against Arsenal. It was a real piece of class.
    Who are they to criticise teams for showing off? – Henry was 1 of the biggest ive known in my lifetime.

    Long may skill be a part of the game – I’d hate it to end up like our regional league in NI with brute force and crunching hard tackles the only way to win accolades.

  4. stepovers are tricks!? WTF, if i saw cr7 doing atw’s then i would call him a show-off. Stepovers are moves that you use to beat your opponent and go past him, or set your self up to make a pass or create space for yourself. I wont make fun of david pizzaro since this will be the last time i will hear from him. We should all embrace cr7 even if your nt a united fan, we are watching greatness.

  5. oliver fowler, about the assists ratio, what’s your advice? stop scoring and wait for someone to come and push the ball to the goal? :D cause if he has more assists and continue scoring, man utd must score 7 goals per game!!! ;)

  6. He is awesome and annoying as all hell.

  7. He is one of the best players of all time, hes amazing, but he
    really pisses me off. He always looks so smug when he scores a
    goal and it seems like he thinks hes the best of all time.

  8. There is a difference between a flair player doing some tricks with the ball and a player disrespecting another team. Its a very simple difference, if you produce a great bit of skill for a purpose, e.g. to get round a defender, give yourself the room for a cross or a shot etc then nobody is going to get upset about it. Its the little bits of skill that are done for no reason other than to show off that is disrespectful to the opposition. Basically saying to them “I think you are so rubbish that I’m going to do some training ground keepy-uppy just to waste a few minutes” Its just about sportsmanship in the end and showing the respect to others that you would expect yourself.

  9. “Sometimes, you can show too much respect to your opposition.” Coach Pat Riley discussed why the LA Lakers could not beat the Boston Celtics during their heated rivalries. Until Riley took over, LA had very little success against them. He felt it was because they were too respectful.

    Ronaldo gets inside of the minds of his opponents. Similar to The Special One. Both anger their rivals because one spins them with the ball and the other with words. In Ronaldo’s case, his actions may be seen as artistic, phenomenal, insulting, unsporting, or self-absorbed to the nth degree. He has a rare form of self-confidence, along with the physical and technical gifts that few possess.

    He reminds me of Giorgio Chinaglia (ex Lazio, Azzurri, and New York Cosmos). He talked a big game and then produced the goods. Then reminded you of it. :-)

  10. Nice article. Ronaldo is a sensational talent and he should exhibit all his tools whenever he can. We are in a society full of Salieri’s who always envy and hate a Mozart because they are jealously plain and ordinary themselves. Never keep an artist down. We often want to reward the hard worker over the talented artist because most of us fit in the hard worker box and we are jealous because brilliance comes so easy to a select few. To those who cannot stomach greatness, I feel sorry for your pettiness and lack of genuine imagination.

  11. If we assume that what applies in real life relationships applies in football, then here are a couple of thoughts:

    Everyone deserves a certain level of respect

    Beyond that, you need to prove yourself by your actions

    The ‘trickery’ or ‘showboating’ is a challenge – a come and get me taunt. It’s up to the opposition to rise to that challenge and if they don’t, then they’re being shown up as being not good enough.

    Please don’t pass off your own embarrassment on us and call it a lack of respect. The opposition disrespects their own claims and ambitions by not being able to counter a showoff.

  12. What?? we should not censor or edit soccer in any way or form, if you cant do trick or moves, learn to dont just hate and tell others that they cant do it, ronaldo has skill and cuz he know he should be able to do it,

  13. idiots…this guys trains harder than almost any other player in the world ..he has a goal in his life..to be the best and people like pizzaro are making him look good saying hes showing off hahahaha…he can do the tricks in the game..how many other notable players can do so?…hmmmmmmmm

  14. ahmed bilal…haha holy shit i couldn’t have said it better myself

  15. Any player with special ability should show it. Its ridiculous to suggest that a player should just pass the ball instead of trying to use his skill to beat a player just out of respect. I’d much rather watch any player not just ronaldo, even though i am a man united fan, show a bit of flair on the pitch instead passing the ball sideways or back to defence. Theres a competition for people who would rather see that kind of thing and its called the six nations

  16. if Ronaldo had the assists, people would be bitching about the lack of facial hair. Or the lack of headed goals. Or the fact that he doesn’t play in goal.

    How often does the leading scorer in a team also has the most assists? Ronny is putting away his chances, others aren’t. The process is self-fulfilling – he gets more of the ball because others can’t score, and thus he scores more.

    As for his selfishness – it’s certainly there, but did anyone see the Villa game? Assists galore. Usually people don’t finish them off though…

  17. Just a little note on the assists.
    Last season he scored 23 goals and claimed 20 assists.
    This season he has scored 36 goals 7 assists, so far.

    Funnily enough there is a difference of 13 in the goals scored, and 13 in the assists.

    I really couldn’t care less about his assists if he is turning them into goals on a 1 to 1 ratio.

    Oh, and of the 4 goals we scored vs Villa, he scored one and assisted how many of the other 3? (Hint: all of them)

  18. Wouldn’t having young English kids try to emulate Ronaldo’s tricks lead to a general improvement in the technique of the English youth in the next 5 years?

  19. nice article man…i agree with you. we like being adored. CR wants 2 show the world how good is he….let him…as long as hes not harming his team in any way

  20. Fab article.’If you got it,flaunt it,exhibit your skills’.That is what Ronaldo was doing.Who cares if players like Pizzaro dont like it,he’s just mad coz they got hammered.All hail to great Ronaldo,just hope he does not get side tracked by the haters.

  21. Things what ronaldo does is only what one can dream of….Young kids dream of doing those things…Cant really understand the term showboating though….I dont think I would want to go for a football match and see 22 players defend till their last breath…No wonder italy sucks…

  22. ALLOW C. RONNY TO ENTERTAIN US WITH HIS ARTISTRY AND FLAIR THAT IS THE WAY FOOTBALL SHOULD BE PLAYED IF YOU ASK ME. BUT 4 THOSE WHO HATE POSITIVE FOOTBALL IT IS SHOWBOATING. CRAP, THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT CANTONA WAS PREACHING AGAINST IN SOGA BONITA ISN’T IT? I AM FOR POSITIVE FOOTBALL MY GUY, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHO GIVES IT TO US AND FROM WHAT CLUB WE SHOULD WELCOME IT AND EMBRACE IT.
    IF WE CAN WELCOME AND ENJOY THE ARTISTRY AND FLAIR THAT AIR JORDAN BROUGHT TO THE NBA WHY SHOULD N’T WE WELCOME IT IN SOCCER. COME ON PEOPLE ITS JUST A GAME AT THE END OF THE DAY AND IT IS MEANT TO BE PLAYED WITH TALENT, FLAIR AND ARTISTRY AND IF RONNY IS GIVIN US VALUE FOR OUR MONEY I AM DOWN WITH THAT. HOWEVER IT IS NOT ONLY THE ITALIANS THAT SUCKS IN THAT REGARDS, I THINK THE ENGLISH DO TOO,LOL. I DON’T EVEN LIKE MAN U, BUT DOES IT MATTER? NAH.

  23. he is one of the great no matter what anyones says. You can disagree but its a fact. his great season this year is proving his talent.

  24. I say that Roma player, David Pizarro, is just angry because manchester united beat them twice and C Ronaldo is amazing i mean yes sometimes he may dive, but he is still a brilliant player and deserves to be recognized as a great footballer

  25. We will sell.

  26. cristino is soooo talented and sexy.eny1 will fall in love with him with his sexy tricks and body.just watch as he goals and wins all the matches.I LOVE HIM SOOOOO MUCH!

  27. He is a big hater he is hating because he is not as good as cristiano ronaldo and he, aslo because he always get chopped by cristiano ronaldo and he is mad!!!! boooo you little baby!

  28. cristiano i´m your bigest fan, my friends get tired when i talk about you too much but i don´t care i love u…i hope you will win all the games and i wish i could see you anytime but you never come to us so how can i????anyway LOVE U AND ALL GUYS IN PORTUGAL TEAM… <3 <3 <3 <3

  29. He may be a cry baby and a show-off.
    But hell, a player with such great talent and skill should show off!
    Others should just shut up about him, jealousy can tend to be very annoying.

    But ehh, me as a female, he is NOT good-looking.
    He seems to be very smug, player-like and he knows he is good looking (Which is an opinion I do not share)and he cries too much!
    But well yeah, we don’t have to like him, as long as he scores right?

  30. sia gelo ronaldo ??????????????????????????????????

  31. hi c. ronaldo i like so mach

  32. c .ronaldo faciu prostituta hahah inter champions hehe ronaldo vs gigs prostituta hhah inter champions ibrahimovic ilove you ibra hhehheh.

  33. c pa pour dire, mais ta pose…celle ou tu essaye de voler… laisse moi te dire ke c pas toute à fait ca
    donc laisse tomber parceke t’y arrivera pa

    maby you belive in it, but you can not fly!!!
    sorryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy but forget about it

  34. C Ronaldo is such an annoying crybaby. He should carry himself and his man purse off the field

  35. I like cristiano ronaldo.I like his skills and speed,so i think that he is the second Maradona.

  36. cristiano ronaldo si the best football ,,in england and in all the world . he is my favourite,,,because i play football too,,,and ,,my biggest dream is to be like <>

  37. well you can talk crap on Cristiano all you want it wont stop him.
    also you can call his moves and tricks a “waste of time” all you want but at the end of the day him and his team are the best

  38. Now then
    Nufc ALL THA WAY SON

  39. I love you ronalldo sou much ronalldo is the best

  40. This is the inconvinient truth. the best article so far. keep it up mate you know the truth. they say ronaldo dives, well every player dives [its a fact] i mean_ watch rugby we’ve got people tuckled every minute but they don’t fall asleep on the pitch like soccer players. they say ronaldo is arrogant most stars are arrogant Ronaldo is not the first & surely not the last__examples- ronaldinho, Romario, beckham, Drogba,Ronaldo the brazilian, maradona

  41. If it seems he is doing the tricks for no reason, that is a misnomer because he is simply wasting time (winding down the clock so that the other team don’t gain possession). Who calls a soccer player a cry baby. That sounds like something a 5-10 year old kid would say when someone got hurt. Anyways the only thing I think ronaldo could improve in is when he loses the ball, he should run back and get the ball back depending on the circumstances. Also I think if he wants to win more awards and tournaments, he needs to put his team before himself. Unlike ronaldo, messi does put his team before himself and thats why messi is number 1 in the world currently. Messi passes the ball when needed unlike ronaldo who goes for a shot even though there is a perfectly good player on his team free and closer to the goal. He thinks his national team completely relys on his freckish goals that come out of nowhere to win for his team. If ronaldo starts applying these strategies he would be the best player in the world, maybe better than pele or maradona because his passing rarely seen is the best, better than xavi hernandez and lionel messi passes.