‘Ronaldo streets ahead of Messi & Kaka’

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles

Man Utd accepted an £80 million bid from Real Madrid (Photo: Gordon Flood)

It was a frank interview that Sir Alex Ferguson gave to the media last night. It was a chance for the media to ask the questions that the club’s fans will have been eager to learn the answers to.

Topics discussed included the Carlos Tevez affair, Manchester City’s transfer policy and Arsenal’s potential for the upcoming season. Ferguson was lavish in his praise for his former number seven.

“Without question, in my mind, he is the best player in the world by absolutely miles. He is streets ahead of Messi, streets ahead of Kaka.”

“Look at his figures. They are unbelievable. The attempts he has on goal, the attacks into the penalty box, his positions, headers, shots. It’s unbelievable.”

A glowing reference by Ferguson who clearly bears no grudge to the world’s most expensive signing. Indeed he spoke of how United were fortunate to hold onto their prized asset for 6 glorious years, rebutting his requests to be allowed to join Real Madrid.

Cristiano Ronaldo was finally granted his wish earlier this summer as he made the inevitable move to the Madrid giants for €94 million. Ronaldo made his debut for El Galatico’s last night in Dublin when Madrid took on Ireland’s Shamrock Rovers.

The player christened by Ferguson as the “worlds best” was overshadowed by former Manchester United target, Karim Benzema. The 21-year-old French international was easily the most impressive player on the night as he outshone his team mates.

Benzema scored the only goal of the game after capitalizing on a long ball from Heinze, finishing calmly as the ex Lyon ace slotted the ball into the left hand bottom corner of the goal.

Ronaldo meanwhile was contained by the part timers and failed to live up to his tag as the world’s best player. A tag which is perhaps undeserved.

Of couse Ferguson is going to speak highly of the player who drove United to three Premiership titles in as many years and a memorable European win in Moscow. But is he the incontrovertible world’s best? For me, the answer is no.

One cannot doubt the impact of Ronaldo on the United team and the Premier League. As Ferguson pointed out, Ronaldo’s goals and assists record speaks for itself.

But to say that Ronado is “easily” better than Kaka or Messi is laughable. All three are fantastic players, blessed with unerring ability. Each can change the outcome of a match in an instant, with a piece of magic.

This year’s Champions League final in Rome was billed as the heavy weight clash between Ronaldo and Messi. On the night there was only one winner. Lionel Messi might not have impressed like the flawless Xavi and Iniesta but the small Argentine ace outshone Ronaldo.

Before the game the comparisons were plenty. It was ironic that Messi scored Barcelona’s second with his head, one of his cited flaws by the critics, and a strength recognised in Ronaldo.

Kaka who enjoyed the title of the world’s most expensive player for a matter of days is also on a par with Ronaldo. For the last few years the Brazilian has been a source of inspiration at A.C. Milan.

He has helped the club to a Scudetto and a Champion League triumph. His influence on A.C. Milan bears many similarities to the impact Ronaldo had at Old Trafford.

Having witnessed both Kaka and Ronaldo play this season, I know who impressed me more. Kaka produced virtuoso performance against Bologna, helping the Rossoneiri come from behind to win 4-1.

Ronaldo struggled against a tenacious Inter Milan. Contained by the Nerazzuri defence, the normal tantrums soon started to appear. The game finished 0-0 .

Ronaldo is still young at the age of 24. Hopefully with time, will come maturity. His move to Real Madrid will no longer see him as a big fish in a small pond.

At United he was the undisputed star of the team. Rooney and Tevez lived in his shadow. At Real he will have to compete with Kaka, Benzema, and Raul for the limelight.

It will make for an interesting chapter in Ronaldo’s career. In this current moment in time, I don’t believe Ronaldo is “streets ahead of Messi and Kaka”.  But a successful spell at Madrid could prove me and any other doubters wrong.

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