Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dio: Who cares about Zlatan & Ronaldo?

All the talk ahead of the huge match today is of Zlatan and Ronaldo and reuniting the two Nike sponsors, this time in anger.

But--anyone who's been watching the two teams would likely realize that neither player is on form at the moment. Zlatan has been average since December and Ronaldo has been average all season.

Ronaldo isn't even the best winger in Manchester, so forget about worrying whether he's better than Zlatan or not, especially since Zlatan isn't even the best player on Inter.

Javier Zanetti, as ever--AS EVER--doesn't get the headlines, just like a Vidic for United, despite domineering and rampaging around the pitch consistently each weekend. How can a guy be so good for so long and get so little love? I know the debonair Argentine has a cult following but he's simply one of the top 10 classiest players in the world and never gets the acknowledgment.

I could care less about Zlatan really, but our culture is fascinated with tricks and flare. That' why you see players coming up capable to chop balls left and right and juggle bubble gum but they can't turn while shielding the ball and shifting their balance. Zanetti is a master of the fundamentals. I'll be you he can do all the tricks Zlatan can but just merely has the sense not to. A gentleman is someone who knows how to play the accordian but doesn't!

Zlatan might be capable of a wicked shot here and there, as is Ronaldo, but the Swede is dogged by inconsistency throughout his career. A player's ceiling doesn't matter if he only hits it once every three months for two weeks duration. Ronaldo, on the other hand, is consistently poor this season, likely due to the pressures he needlessly applies to himself, but last year he was consistently unconscious and enjoyed probably the best single season for any attacker since maybe his namesake at Barcelona 11 or 12 years back, if not longer.

Then again, even the most specious, banal articles containing the keyword "Ronaldo" get millions of hits. So I shouldn't really wonder at the fascination since it's--as ever--money driven. But, as all eyes are trained on the two fashionable Nike stars, it's players like Zanetti and Scholes who I'll be following, and rightly so because they'll be the ones making more of an impact while Zlatan and Ronaldo likely under-perform, as is their tendency in big matches, and consistent with their current form.

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