Monday, November 24, 2008

Ronaldo is the saddest player to ever dominate World Football

The signs for Cristiano Ronaldo to be rightfully enshrined as the best player in both Europe and abroad may have started to point in the wrong direction.

Nominations and short-listings for each reward invariably offer a few peculiar names, while sometimes the omission of a player—Del Piero—is most conspicuous.

The somewhat arbitrary nature of both the Ballon d'Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations don't reassure against the possibility of Ronaldo being penalized due to the egregious immaturity he's displayed lately.

It was reported today that Ronaldo is doubtful for the midweek Villareal clash with a leg injury. Although, seeing him walk out of Villa Park—regrettably taunting fans, appearing near tears, in an unhappy, juvenile display of self-assurance—I wonder if his emotions are what really need healing.

After arrogantly demanding an offseason trade from Manchester United to Real Madrid—not for the first time—Ronaldo continues to recover from summer ankle surgery. Though not yet displaying his world-beating form, the attacking ace still has found twine nine times into the 2008-2009 season, but instead of enjoying the serendipity of scoring without playing well, Ronaldo has been impetuous on the pitch.

Each time he is felled, as is his wont, he makes faces and emotes his tragedy, complaining to line judges and referees, gesticulating yellow cards on and arguing with opposing players, and mocking opposing fans. It's not against his nature to be found complaining with teammates over lack of service, never appearing to take accountability for his own mistakes, much less acknowledging them.

He does it all with a foul air of conceit he may not ultimately deserve.

In fact, in exercising such levels of arrogance he is perhaps creating and fulfilling his own prophecy of shockingly missing out on an award he would otherwise deserve, were it not for his recalcitrant and childish behavior.

There are differences between self-esteem, confidence, and arrogance; the first being most crucial, which yields the second; the over-indulgence of which begets the third. He has an overabundance of the last, without the solid foundation on which to support it.

Does Sir Alex Ferguson take attitude from Ronaldo?

With the No.7 leveraging a move away from Old Trafford each offseason, it'd be no surprise if the United manager has trouble controlling the player. How can the gaffer discipline Ronaldo when he is the clear nucleus of United's success, especially when he hangs his future with the club so preciously over their heads?

Managing personalities is not foreign to Ferguson, having already watched names like Beckham, Cantona, Keane, and Ince come and go through the revolving door.

In fact, it is sharp, fatherly discipline that Ronaldo may need most; the proverbial flying boot. The winger simply appears on the outskirts of self-control, and he needs it back. Ferguson is the man to bring it to him, and not through softness or leniency, but through the omission on a line-up card and the tacit, forthright, hair-drying treatments that made the old Scot famous.

Ronaldo must grow to realize and accept, sooner than later, that his class demands underhanded defending; he must be fouled to be stopped. His reputation for diving doesn't help him getting calls, nor does it absolve referees the accountability of missing some calls, either.

Ronaldo's status as the world's best, or close to it, should be expressed in assured self-confidence (see: Zidane), not hubris.

Both the European and World Player of the Year trophies are given each winter to commerate the form of their recipients throughout the calendar year, without respect to the timing of European and domestic professional campaigns.

Ronaldo, despite enjoying such a historic finish to last season in June, might regret failing to realize that the world has still been watching him over the past several months that followed.

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