The Protégé

cristiano_ronaldo_5_ap.jpgCristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro, (born 5 February 1985 in Funchal, Madeira), is a Portuguese professional footballer. He plays for the English club Manchester United as well as for Portugal. With Manchester United, Ronaldo plays primarily as a right winger and is one of manager Sir Alex Ferguson’s most prized possessions. Prized because he’s a protégé, a Legend in the making.

Technically, Ronaldo is bipedal (two-footed player), allowing him to play anywhere up front: right, left or through the middle Ronaldo and left winger Ryan Giggs constantly use this to their advantage, switching wings occasionally, which helps Manchester United to further confuse their opponents. Ronaldo is renowned for his superb technical ability. Besides his trademark multiple step-overs, he has also developed a wide array of flicks and skills, making him one of the most feared wingers in the premiership. His blistering pace enables him to accelerate past defenders, either down the wings or cutting into the middle, and he can strike powerful shots from outside the box as well as being adept at finishing from close-range. Ronaldo is extremely good in the air and has scored a fair number of headed goals. He is currently Manchester United’s first-choice penalty taker. Additionally, his unique free kicks, dubbed the ‘Ronaldo rockets’, are known for their fearsome swerve and dip. Analysts say he achieves this by getting the most powerful part of his foot in line with the valve of the football every time he takes a kick. This requires immense practice and immaculate skill and precision. His unique playing style is a far cry from traditional wingers of the past. He can, perhaps, best be described as a winger and a striker rolled into one.

One part of Ronaldo’s game, however, has always been under the scanner and that is his temperament. His inability to score consistently against the big boys (traditional rivals like Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Milan etc.) has raised several doubts among critics. This factor also led him to lose the 2007 FIFA player of the year to Kaka. The Brazilian won owing to his splendid run in the Champions league compared to Ronaldo’s less than average performance there. Also worth noting are his antics, whether it be frequent late nights off-field or an occasional injury simulation on-field, Christiano Ronaldo is a maverick. And who can forget his famous wink to his team mates in the World cup, in a game against England, after Wayne Rooney was sent-off. The notorious incident led to him being christened a ‘right winker’ instead of a winger. But the ManU fans seem to have forgiven him after his 34-goal dream run in the premiership this season.

All in all, Cristiano Ronaldo is a total package and will always belong to the world of football because he is one of the beautiful game’s beautiful players.

Prateek Kapil

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