Real Madrid take Manchester United in tomorrow’s mouth-watering Champions League fixture and it’s all about Cristiano Ronaldo.
You have to feel for Cristiano Ronaldo. He is undoubtedly, one of the greatest players to have ever graced the world game, but the he is destined to go down in history as the player who was over-shadowed by Lionel Messi.
The Portuguese has his share of admirers, Real manger Jose Mourinho and Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson among them, but when these two managers take their sides to battle, the world’s eyes will be well and truly fixed on Ronaldo. It’s not long since the Madeira Island’s finest was snubbed yet again by football’s blazers when they decided to overlook him for the Ballon d’Or in favour of Messi. Ronaldo could be forgiven for feeling aggrieved, there are many who claimed he is the more deserving player, not too many though.
They do have a point. While Messi thrives in an environment that is primed to present him with quality ball on a silver platter, game in, game out, Ronaldo must work far harder, bringing his superior physique to bear on every game, dominating the opposition. His record speaks for itself, one extraordinary season after another, he has smashed goal-scoring records, and while critics claimed he was often a no show for the big games, he has long put paid to that notion.
Wednesday night’s clash is a feast for the football fan, with Real floundering in La Liga, Manchester United, after a chaotic start to their campaign have put a significant buoyancy to their Premier League aspirations with 12 points on their nearest rivals. While Real is one of the world’s most expensively assembled teams, United have of late adopted a more prudent approach, preferring unproven players of potential, that said though, they saw fit to break the bank for Dutchman Van Persie in the Summer, a risk that has paid back handsomely.
Mourinho is out of contract at the end of the summer and has expressed hiss interest in returning to the Premier League. Ferguson insists he still has the stomach for the job at Old Trafford bud the two managers have a well-known mutual respect. Ronaldo is relishing the chance to return to his former club, a club that fostered his burgeoning talent before unleashing him on La Liga with the Madrid giants, it is the first time he will be facing United.
It is already ten years since these two giant clubs clashed in the Champions League, the last time they met, Cristiano’s namesake, Brazilian Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against the Red Devils and Ferguson will be determined to stop that happening again.
For once Cristiano need not fear being over shadowed by a certain Argentinean, as they have staggered the quarterfinals over the space of a month. Messi will not appear until the 20th February when Barcelona travel to the San Siro to take on AC Milan. Until then Ronaldo is centre stage.