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Fergie Deserves Praise for Grooming Rooney and Ronaldo


Sir Alex Ferguson continues to amaze me. Not only does he manage to pull off incredible results, but he’s also able to shape players into true superstars. Two perfect examples of this are the Man United players who scored the crucial goals on Tuesday night in Rome: Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Think back to when Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo first joined Man United. Rooney was a moody, temperamental beast who was more likely to get red carded for a rash challenge than score a goal. Even in his first several games for Manchester United, he appeared to be a liability for the side despite his incredible raw talent. Now, Rooney is a model footballer who has quelled his anger and fueled that aggressive energy into tip-top performances.

Cristiano Ronaldo is another perfect example. When he first joined the Red Devils, his scintillating skills were something that Premier League fans had never seen. The stepovers were so wonderful to watch.

However, Ronaldo’s early days at Manchester United exposed two main weaknesses. First, his stepovers were sometimes his own worst enemy as his legs would get tangled up and he’d lose the ball. Or a defender would stop Ronaldo’s stepover in its tracks and steal the ball away.

Second, Ronaldo was a poor crosser of the ball. While his stepovers would often trick defenders to allow the Portugese star to create space down the wing, Ronaldo’s trickery often meant nothing because his crosses wouldn’t reach the box or would sail wayward.

In both Rooney and Ronaldo’s case, Ferguson and his coaching staff have to be applauded for turning these two prodigies into superstars. It’s questionable whether Rooney could have achieved the same success at Everton. More importantly, it’s doubtful that Everton could have tamed Rooney as well as Ferguson did. At the Goodison Park club, he seemed like a hothead. At Old Trafford, he rarely shows his mean streak.

Cristiano Ronaldo, meanwhile, is simply incredible. At Manchester United, the Portugese winger has been able to widen his array of skills (to more than just stepovers). But more importantly, he’s been able to do so without resorting to the fake diving that was so much a part of his early career in Manchester.

Can Rooney and Ronaldo help Manchester United lift the Champions League trophy this year? It certainly seems likely based on the club’s current form.

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  1. aguntuk

    November 30, 2008 at 9:59 pm

    nice win for ManU

    here is the news & videoz & latest updates

  2. Pork Romeo

    April 3, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Enjoyed the article. Have to agree. SAF desevers credit for keeping Rooney and Ronaldo on track and seeing they achieve their potential. It seems Nani and Andersen are on their way as well.

    But on the other end of the career, SAF deserves credit for keeping some of the older players who are past their sell by date. Scholes, Giggs, and Ole Gunnar are examples. Having so much experience in the squad has to be invaluable in developing younger players.

    I would suggest Wenger could learn from this and maybe change the Arsenal policy of 30 and out. Having a few, select veterans on the squad might keep the youngsters from going wobbly during rough patches.

  3. kat kid

    April 2, 2008 at 8:10 am


    unfortunately, if players play through contact referees too often ignore it. Diving and faking injury are both huge stains on the game and are a big reason why Americans have trouble becoming interested. In defense, officials and referees bear some major responsibility in the problem as the players should not be officiating contests through their antics. Steps should be taken to punish rather severely those who are stretchered off only to heroically return some 20 seconds later and a yellow card should continue to be the punishment for diving with an advantage given only if there is a real scoring opportunity so that players who push through contact are not punished.

  4. CB

    April 2, 2008 at 7:54 am

    I couldn’t agree more. I thought yesterday’s game was especially impressive on both counts. Rooney worked nearly as much on defense as he did up front. While he’s a long way from a starting gig at right back, his willingness to be back there says a lot about his maturity. His crossing and ball sharing this season has been telling as well.

    As for Ronaldo, well, I mean what can you say? He has risen to ridiculous heights. What has impressed me most this season, however, is not the goals, but his treatment of the fans. They don’t always show it on the tube, but he always goes over and applauds the fans, and you can tell there’s real heart in it too. Especially considering all the stick he got after the last World Cup, I think it says a lot about his commitment to the PL and Red Devils.

    Both of them have really stepped it up this year and I could easily see Sir Alex making either one of them permanent captain in the coming seasons.

  5. tim

    April 2, 2008 at 7:43 am

    ‘Fake diving’? As against what? Legitimate diving?

    Sorry, couldn’t help picking up on that.

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