Football FanCast columnist Lewis Doe thinks that Cristiano Ronaldo has now banished the view that he doesn’t
turn up for big games.
Whether you love him or hate him Cristiano Ronaldo proved last night just
why he is the best football player currently on the planet. Ronaldo gave
Arsenal so many headaches that it was impossible for him not to be noticed. His
performance effectively lays to rest all of the criticisms and questions that
surround him in the lead up to every big match.
It is also important to consider that he also scored the 40-yard belter that
got Manchester United into the semi-finals in the first place. His free kick to
put United 2-0 up last night was sublime; dipping, pacy, swerving and making
what looked like an easy save for Manuel Almunia very difficult. His second
came with a brilliant piece of counter attacking football from United who took
the ball into Arsenal’s half and scored within eight touches.
Ronaldo showed just why he is so important to the United team. Very few
players could have had the same impact that he showed last night and what’s
more he looked well and truly up for it. This puts to bed the myth that he
doesn’t turn up for big games and sulks when things don’t go his way. It was
quite pleasing for the neutral to watch and see him running his socks off in a
game for once as opposed to rolling around on the floor every time a player
went near him.
United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, said in the Guardian: “They couldn’t
handle him. We had a midfield who worked their socks off, great shape, good
defensive positions, but we needed someone to give them real problems and when
Cristiano is in that form he’s a fantastic footballer. Once we transferred the
ball to Ronaldo it was a big problem for them.”
“We got the break, the first goal,
when the defender [Gibbs] slipped and Park Ji-sung took advantage. We got a
great start and that made the difference.”
United’s performance will give whoever they end up playing quite a few
problems, whether it be Chelsea or Barcelona. Both of those sides will now be
very wary not just of Ronaldo, but of the entire United team. They have proved
as a side that they can work tirelessly to a set game plan and have the
patience to wait for one of their big individual players to pop and do
On too many occasions when United have
not played well people have been hasty to turn their heads in Ronaldo’s
direction. The awards and accolades that he won last season have put a constant
pressure on him to perform to the same level. He is just a human being, but
when he is good, he is very good.