Cue Christiano Ronaldo, who at the 88th minute showed his peers, his manager and the staff and board of my beloved Manchester United exactly why he deserves – demands even – a salary reflecting the club’s estimate of his talent.
What a difference 8 months make
In his shoes not many would play it differently; if United were to own the bragging rights to the alleged best player in the world on form, then they had better put their money where their mouths are. From Ronaldo to Ferguson, Gill et al: “Show me the money!”
Few would have interest to argue with the caveat-laden tag of ‘best player in the world on current form’ that Ronaldo has been said to warm up to of late. This time last year Thierry Henry would have easily deserved this, had it not been for the deserving Ronaldinho; I personally would have handed it to Henry who single handedly inspired and led his team of fledgling prodigies to within 13 minutes of Champions’ League victory – a large portion of the game played with only 10 players - only to be thwarted by the Brazilian's more accomplished team-mates.
Didier Drogba’s goals aside, it would be a tough argument for anyone to put the Ivorian in contention for this tag. Ronaldo’s goals on the other hand have spurred United on to where they currently are in the Premiership. Cesc Fabregas has been immense for Arsenal (I still think he should have taken a good swing at Lampard), but again Ronaldo’s influence on the growingly confident United team has been truly immeasurable. And great results aside there certainly doesn’t seem to be anybody from Liverpool – including Steven Gerrard – who can hope to compare with the twinkle-toed Ronaldo – on current form.
United will need more and more from him, in the light of Larsson’s return to Sweden in 10 days, and in clear and honest consideration of Rooney’s decline in form.
Without meaning to jinx it, the team seems to be peaking just at the right time though, and Giggs, Scholes and Saha are really coming into their own. Still, it only takes a rash or malicious tackle or an uneven pitch to throw the boy wonder from Medeira into the Old Trafford injury list, and along with it perhaps any chance of United wrestling the title they last won four years ago.
Best player in the world? On current form, definitely. Show him the money United!
Golf lessons this Saturday
The ‘current form’ phenomenon continues, and I for one will not begrudge Liverpool their recent results against Sheffield United and Barcelona, coming as it did in the wake of the slightly-too-exuberant night out in Portugal.
Rafa seems to have built a dream midfield, and new-kid-on-the-Kop Javier Mascherano looked the solid player he was at last year’s World Cup. That aside – on current form – he still isn’t their best central midfielder, and neither is Gerrard or Xabi Alonso. That honour belongs to Momo Sissoko, who was simply phenomenal in the Barcelona game. Another foray to the right wing for Gerrard perhaps?
All things said, this game has all the makings of a classic; but as all predicted classics go, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised with an eventual stalemate.
Liverpool vs. Manchester United
LIVE from Anfield. Saturday, March 3rd, 2007. 7.45 pm.
This is the match of the week!