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So now we’ve seen him, the media-acclaimed superstar-elect of Euro 2008, Mr Cristiano Ronaldo.
He didn’t tear up any trees but played pretty well in Portugal’s opening 2-0 win over Turkey. He was denied a goal by a fingertip save that touched a first-half free kick on to a post, made several positive runs and had a hand in the second goal. He did not dominate the game but was a constant lively threat. There is almost certainly more to come, in bigger games, but are you a fan or a doubter?
Which of these below most accurately apply to the Portugal winger? You may tick more than one box.
Ronaldo A: A showpony more interested in trickery, hair cream and mirrors than playing the right ball at the right time. A diver who cons referees into giving him decisions that other players with less nimble feet would never get.
Last week Alex Ferguson slammed Real Madrid for using Spanish sports daily Marca as a mouthpiece to further their designs on Cristiano Ronaldo. United have backed their manager’s complaints by threatening to report the Primera Liga side to FIFA for their behaviour.
Real, however, deny any wrongdoing, saying all they have done is express their admiration for one of the hottest properties in world football.
The speculation in Spanish newspapers in the build-up to the Champions League final is all about Cristiano Ronaldo and the chances of him signing for Real Madrid next season (see Marca, for example).
The feeling in Madrid seems to be that if United beat Chelsea here in Moscow tonight, the ludicrously talented Portugal winger could leave Old Trafford thinking something along the lines of “My work is done here…”
When Jose Mourinho burst onto the scene and Chelsea became the new force in English football, there were many who thought Alex Ferguson’s days as Manchester United boss were numbered.
Those doubters are suddenly running for cover after the feisty Scot steered United to their 17th league title and the 10th of his glittering Old Trafford reign.
After 60 minutes of the 2008 Champions League final all eyes will be on the pitch, but for a not-so-obvious reason.
The match, to be held in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on May 21, kicks off at 2245 local time to accommodate mid-evening audiences in the rest of Europe.
Alex Ferguson left PFA player of the season Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the start of Manchester United’s 2-1 defeat at title rivals Chelsea at the weekend. The Scot was thinking about the Champions League game with Barcelona, but will he live to regret that decision?
Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley are joined by vlogonthepitch debutant Mike Davidson to discuss the importance of Chelsea’s victory and look at the run in. Will West Ham and Wigan trouble United? The beauty of the Premier League is that any side on their day can provide an upset.
A Ballack double, a late disputed penalty, other penalties not given, a calamitous Carvalho error, Rooney and Vidic injured, Ronaldo left on the bench, Drogba arguing with team mates, two late Chelsea clearances off the line, United players in a spat with the ground staff well after full time…
What else would you want from the big match between the top two? Well there was Chelsea’s nice touch of holding up a shirt remembering Frank Lampard’s late mother after the first goal.
In our clip above, Cristiano Ronaldo says “football is like that sometimes” following his penalty miss in Manchester United’s 0-0 draw at Barcelona in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.
Our vlogonthepitch duo, Owen Wyatt and Jon Bramley, wonder whether the Portuguese maestro was a bit too relaxed in taking the spotkick and a bit too relaxed about missing it. Will it turn out to be crucial in next week’s second leg?
The neutrals have no doubt. “Flop. Fear wins at the Nou Camp” was Gazzetta dello Sport’s view from Italy of the 0-0 draw between Barcelona and Manchester United in Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s early penalty soaring well wide of the goal summed up the whole night, with Barca pressing hard but failing to find that extra bit of inspiration to break the deadlock.
That got me thinking about what the other knock-on effects might be, and especially about whether Barcelona would feel obliged to sign another big-name player as a replacement.