As Manchester United completed its rare double one week ago today, I was haunted by one thought that kept popping in my head throughout the game.
“That… Cristiano… Ronaldo… is… unstoppable…”
Truly unstoppable. I mean, the other team knows what he will do, knows how he will do it, and still has no hope to stop him.
Michael Essien is heralded as the best defensive mid in the world. During the last World Cup, he singlehandedly would shut down almost every one of his opponents’ biggest scoring threats. He covers his man, as they say, like “white on rice.”
But last Wednesday, Ronaldo ran by Essien so fast Essien looked paralyzed. In fact, on multiple occassions all Essien could do was laugh with embarassment after Ronaldo did one of his trademark shuffles and flew past him.
Ronaldo is, undoubtedly, the greatest player in the world. You can criticize his petulant attitude. You can criticize his pretty-boy look. You can criticize his selfishness with the ball. You can definitely criticize his fragility when touched near the box.
But you can’t deny that no human being in the world is more adept at dribbling a soccer ball. You can’t deny few players in the world possess such feel for the game and touch with a pass. And you can’t deny that even fewer players in the world can rocket the ball towards the net with such precision and accuracy. Strictly soccer-wise, he is the best player of his generation.
So, it’s no surprise that his talents, as considerable as they are, have inspired frenzy among the world’s top clubs for his services. Man U seemingly has him nailed down. But, you know soccer club presidents and managers just can’t help themselves.
Exhibit A: Ramon Calderon
Calderon has gone to great lengths to use his audacity to try and lure Ronaldo away from Old Trafford. One day, he’ll tell a journalist he intends to sign the Portugese star. The next, he will appear on the news claiming his comments were taken out of context and that he would never interfere with Man U’s player.
Of course, during the same news conference he’ll then say “if the team did decide to sell the player…” That’s Calderon for you. And that’s actually exactly what he said yesterday when asked about Real’s desire to obtain Ronaldo. It’s the old, “we’d never be interested in buying, unless you’re willing to sell” bit.
The European media alleged Calderon recently offered Man U 118.8 million pounds for Ronaldo, which would be a record. Man U would be foolish to sell him though. At this pace, his worth will be twice that within one year. He could be the first 200 million pound player in any sport. Even that A-Rod fella doesn’t pull down that kind of money.
Hey, and at least Ronaldo delivers titles too, right?
One thing I didn’t know about Ronaldo until recently:
He was named after Ronald Reagan.
Reagan was the Great Communicator.
Ronaldo, simply the Greatest.