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Eternal moment can give Ronaldo platform to claim place on greatest stage

I found this articly and thought you might find it interesting reading.
It points out that Ronaldo can seize the platform of the Champions League to propell himself to greatness at the same time arguing that the accusations that he is not a big-game player are unfounded. (I happen to disagree with this, but there are good arguments in this article.

Out of priniciple, I will not state where I got this from and will not credit the writer.

IT was a slip of the tongue, no more, but when Alex Ferguson said that Cristiano Ronaldo was so talented that he was capable of winning the Palme d'Or, suddenly it all made sense. Here was a player in such spectacular form that he was going to bypass the mundane awards that are handed to football players and go straight for first prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

He meant the Ballon d'Or, surely, but as the Manchester United manager once claimed that Roy Keane was so inspirational that he could lead his team to the Boat Race and the Grand National as well as the league championship, maybe he meant it.

Speculation about what Ronaldo can achieve as an individual has increased as his performances in the Premier League have drawn legitimate comparisons with George Best.

These in turn attract rebuttals from men of a certain age, who guard claims to Best's crown with a ferocity that borders on truculence. Until United lift a European Cup with Ronaldo in El Beatle form, nothing will be good enough, which seems harsh considering the Portugal winger has scored 35 goals for his club this season.

Amazingly, in the circumstances, the jury is out on the player, with the sceptics citing lame performances away to AC Milan in the Champions League and in the FA Cup Final against Chelsea last season as evidence that he is not a player for the big occasion. That could be about to change. If nothing Ronaldo has done in the Premier League is regarded as worthy -- and this seems a severe attitude, considering the physical demands of the English game -- he has five Champions League matches left this season to prove beyond argument that he is the real thing, starting in Rome this evening and, with luck, ending in the final in Moscow on May 21.

It was the head-to-head in Milan that helped to seal the individual prizes for Kaka last season. As influential in the San Siro as Ronaldo was anonymous, he mopped up the titles of World Player and European Footballer of the Year and understandably so. This season, Ronaldo only needs his defining moment, the performance that will underline his brilliance and confirm the value of what the English public has been witnessing all season.

If Ferguson did not seem affronted by the suggestion that Ronaldo has some distance to travel before his talent is recognised worldwide -- and the Italians require some convincing after the damp squib in Milan -- this is probably because he is aware of the powerful weapon that is a talented player with a point to prove.

Announce that Ronaldo does not have to dominate in Europe to attain greatness and he could lose motivation. So, while endorsing his player completely, Ferguson cleverly left the door open just enough to deliver a challenging reminder of how Ronaldo could silence the cynical beyond retort.

"As for the Palme d'Or," Ferguson said, meaning Ballon d'Or, awarded to the European Footballer of the Year, "I think Cristiano will have a big chance of winning it, but we will have to get to the Champions League final because if we do it will enhance his opportunity. He hasn't had as much European football as a lot of the top players and I think his age, 23, is one aspect of why he has not got there yet.

"I think he has matured, though, and in two or three years' time the questions about his performances in big matches will not be asked.

"We see development in every department of his game in domestic football and he will eventually show his attributes in Europe. Basically, the more he plays, the more he will display those qualities. I have absolutely no fears about that. I am delighted to be bringing this player to Rome, with his incredible improvement and his goalscoring performances. It is a big advantage for us."

The idea that Ronaldo has never performed when the pressure is at its most intense does not stack up anyway. In this Champions League season he has scored six goals in seven matches. He was one of the stars of the European Championships in 2004 and guided his country to the 2006 World Cup semi-finals in Germany.

Portugal have made it to Euro 2008, too, with Ronaldo scoring eight times in that campaign. Most significantly, he has refined the style of the modern Manchester United, becoming as important as Eric Cantona was. It is his performances in the past two seasons that have taken this United team to the brink of greatness.

Ronaldo's genius is his uniqueness, not only the audacious back-heel that opened the scoring against Aston Villa on Saturday, but his free kicks, struck in an individual way, that cannot be imitated or bettered.

It seems strange that confirmation of this ability should depend on the odd 90 minutes of football, rather than the weeks and months in which he has been shown to be the best, but just as Colin Montgomerie needed his major and Tim Henman his Grand Slam to be elevated to the elite, so Ronaldo needs a starring role in Europe. Time is on his side, however. He will get it one day; perhaps sooner than many think. (© The Times, London)

- Martin Samuel

As you can see, I was just kidding about not crediting the writer.
he is Martin Samuel, this article is copy right of the London times and I read it on www.independent.ie. I then transfered it to this forum via my IBM laptop. :D

Peace!
 

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Ronaldo clinches awards treble

http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=4017089

The individual awards keep rolling in for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has picked up the Barclays Player of the Season and Barclays Golden Boot awards to complete a sensational season.

The 23-year-old Portuguese wing wiazard also collected a merit award for reaching 30 league goals this season.

Ronaldo was pivotal in United's Barclays Premier League title success and it was no surprise that he earned the Barclays Player of the Season accolade for the second year in succession.

Whichever way you look at it, Ronaldo has been exceptional this season, and the stats back it up. His 31 goals from 34 league appearances helped see off stiff opposition for the awards from Arsenal's Emmanuel Adebayor and Fernando Torres of Liverpool.

It's the first time a player has scored more than 30 league goals in a season since Alan Shearer's 31-goal haul for Blackburn Rovers twelve years ago.

The merit award for reaching 30 goals will also benefit one lucky charity as Ronaldo will receive £1,000 for every goal scored to be donated to a charity of his choice.

However, for all the personal awards showered on the Madeiran magician, his sights will be firmly set on the Champions League trophy in Moscow next Wednesday.

PFA Player of the Year
Football Writers' Player of the Year
Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year
United Players' Player of the Year
United Goal of the Season (Portsmouth)
Barclays Player of the Season
Barclays Golden Boot
Barclays Merit Prize



- Congratulations Ronaldo! Now if he can show a bit more maturity next season, continue playing when the referee hasn't blown the foul and stop the sulking that gives Paddy Crearand and others heart attacks, he will be a true great. It would be fantastic, if he not only played like the world's best, but also behaved like the world's best footballer!

Nonetheless, to receive so many accolades at the tender age of 23 is simply amazing and a remarkable feat. He certainly gets my vote for the Ballon d'Or.
 
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