World Cup Player to Watch: Part Four
By The Scout
Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo
I’ve had the opportunity to watch this player in action quite a lot over the last couple of season, both with his club Manchester United and for country as they made it to the finals of the Euro 2004 tournament. Blessed with incredible speed and agility, the 21 year-old winger is one of the most athletically blessed players in world football. Deceptively strong and good in the air, there is very little that Ronaldo cannot do when his mind is focused.
Therein lies the problem with the young Portugese sensation. It often appears that he is content with performing tricks and stepovers rather than creating goals for his teammates or for himself. He is gaining a reputation as an individualist and has already had clashes with Red Devils teammate Ruud Van Nistelrooy over what Ruud deemed “selfishness” with the ball. Another problem is that Ronaldo can be easily put off by physical play. He has kicked out or cynically tackled opponents after being bumped or taken off the ball.
When he is focused and working for his teammates, there are few players that are more exciting to watch. Pace, precision passing, close control and able to produce thundering shots with either foot, his talent is enough to make almost anyone green with envy. He produced mixed results in the opening match against Angola and much to his displeasure, he was replaced after an hour for the more defensive minded Costinha. Ronaldo created chances but failed to finish and after being one of the top scorers in World Cup qualification, he will need to bear down and produce a sharper effort in the upcoming matches to take Portugal deep into the tournament.