Ronaldo - Back To His Best? Can Ronaldo be #1 again?
Love him or hate
him, and if you are an Inter fan you certainly don't love him, Ronaldo is back.
Ronaldo's comeback from two serious knee injuries to lead Brazil to their 5th
World Cup title last summer was a wonderful story. Ronaldo scored 8 goals and
finished with the Golden Boot, however his performances left room for
improvement and many critics stated that yes the Brazilian could score goals,
but he would never be the player he was before the injuries. 'Il Phenomeno's'
performances as of late may lead to those same critics eating their words.
After a much publicized and at times ugly transfer from Inter, Ronaldo finally
made his Real Madrid debut early last October against Alaves. And what a debut
it was. He came on for Javier Portillo in the 64th minute and only a minute
later sent the whole Bernabeu into delirium by finishing expertly after latching
on to compatriot Roberto Carlos' cross. Ronaldo added another strike in the last
twenty minutes completing a dream debut as Real strolled to a 5-2 victory. The
weeks that followed though were far from the Utopia of his October debut.
'Ronnie' was having trouble scoring and he was out-of-form, the long injury
lay-off finally showing its effects on the Brazilian superstar.
Instead of making excuses though, Ronaldo continued to work and the same belief
that saw him battle back from a career threatening knee injury also helped him
regain his scoring touch. As of late, Ronaldo has been in sparkling form. He
played a great match against Borussia Dortmund in Champions' League play and was
outstanding in Real's 5-1 win over Alaves where he scored a hat-trick - his
first since joining the club. Slowly but surely the reigning FIFA World Player
of the Year is back to his old self and his 13 goals for the club this season
ranks only behind the prolific Raul for the team lead.
Ronaldo's game has changed a bit. Beginning at the World Cup one could clearly
see that Ronaldo didn't have that explosiveness to go past three and four men as
he did so many times in his days at Barcelona. What we see now is shorter bursts
of speed past one defender, however match by match we see him regaining that
ability to elude defenders by both speed and trickery. For right now he has
become more of a penalty-box player, however to say that the Brazilian's skills
have diminished would be wrong. His wonderful ball control and tricky feet,
especially his unbelievable step-over, still make him more than a handful even
if some of his mobility has diminished because of the injuries. Honestly, things
have been a lot easier at Real than they would have been at any other club.
Ronaldo has a great supporting cast and it certainly doesn't hurt receiving
service from the likes of Zidane, Roberto Carlos, of Figo.
Many have asked if Ronaldo can become the world's most dominant player yet
again. His recent performances suggest he can, but it won't happen over night.
It takes time to fully recuperate from such a serious injury and it can be a
year or two before a player is back to their pre-injury standard of play. Having
said that, 13 goals thus far in limited action (he has missed a few games due to
a couple niggling injuries) is not too shabby.
For all his talents a Champions' League trophy has eluded Ronaldo, he has also
never won a league title in any country. With Real he has a better than average
shot to win both. Because of the strength of Real, we can only really talk about
Ronaldo as being the best in the world again when he leads the club to glory in
both domestic and continental competitions. He has only ever won the UEFA Cup
with Inter and a Spanish Cup with Barcelona in Europe, in order to be considered
'the best' once again, Ronaldo must lead Real to places he himself has never
Ronaldo is well on his way to becoming the world's best player once again. He is
not there yet, but even so still remains a dangerous striker. He has been
heavily criticized for his desire to leave Inter after all they did for him and
rightly so. He mistreated Moratti and the Inter fans after the support both had
given him throughout his injury spell.
Ronaldo should be praised though for his desire to come back and play the game
he loves. The player showed some heart when he came back from not one but two
devastating knee injuries, which took their toll on the Brazilian physically and
psychologically. So whether you love him or hate him, in strictly football terms
Ronaldo is back and it is a pleasure to see him dazzle and conjure up magic with
the round ball once again.
George Tsitsonis (soccerage.com)