Cristiano Ronaldo, the irreplaceable winking hero

Ronaldo the Winking Hero

Ronaldo the Winking Hero

Out of his six years at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo spent three in the spotlight. After the infamous incident in the 2006 World Cup involving him and Wayne Rooney, critics and boos became part of Ronaldo’s professional and private lives.

The “Winking hero” suddenly transformed into England’s number one most hated personality. While a vast majority of football fans took pleasure in threatening him to move from Manchester United and from the country as well, most analysts tipped Ronaldo to suffer career nightmares whereas Rooney would excel.

But these predictions never came true. Cristiano Ronaldo received the backing of Alex Ferguson; the grown
kid from Madeira soon became Manchester United’s most impressive player – a real ace.

Cristiano Ronaldo gained more confidence and always went out to prove his critics wrong although they never seemed to shut up. The Portuguese winger visibly played under pressure – this pressure that was created by anti-Ronaldo supporters and by the fact that he had to play for a team that was NOT his childhood dream club.

Despite these problems, Cristiano Ronaldo battled hard to defend his worth by powering Manchester United to their first league title in three years. The winger netted 23 goals (17 in the English Premier League) and became Manchester United’s top scorer at the end of the 2006/2007 season.

Some called his achievement “luck” and once again predicted that he wouldn’t be able to match the standard that he had set.

Well, Cristiano Ronaldo even went steps further to break his own record. The following season, he netted 42 goals in all competition which helped Manchester United to land the Champions League and the English Premier League titles.

Last year, Ronaldo’s season was tarnished by the transfer saga and by an ankle operation which saw him miss the start of Manchester United’s campaign.

Either way, Cristiano Ronaldo’s 2008/2009 season can be marked by so many memorable things: his dazzling performance in Japan that helped the Red Devils to lift the Fifa World Club Cup trophy, his wonder goal against Porto FC that fired Manchester United to the semi-finals of the Champions League, his brace against Arsenal in Europe, his vital equalizer against Aston Villa, and the list goes on…

During that final year at Manchester United, Cristiano Ronaldo also scored his 100th goal for the club with a 30-yard free-kick against Stoke City. One person who keeps reflecting on Cristiano Ronaldo’s influence in Manchester is Chelsea’s Frank Lampard.

“You don’t replace him [Cristiano Ronaldo], apart from with Messi. He [Messi] is probably the only player you could do it with.

“With Ronaldo, the amount of goals he scores, the amount of times you flicked on the telly and saw he had scored and they had won 1-0 or 2-0.

“It is very difficult to replace him. I saw Ferguson say that himself, and I don’t think he will look to replace him.”

Cristiano Ronaldo left Manchester United and his goals are now part of the past. The “bad boy” knew how to blind defenders and punish them instantly with his pace and his mesmerizing dancing touches. He brought pride to the Red Devils all over the world with his particular skill on the ball. Cristiano Ronaldo was essential to Manchester United’s success in the 21st century, and that, surely, is a fact.

He seemed to play with his heart and mind despite the fact that he initially warned Alex Ferguson that Manchester and England were not part of his childhood dreams. The Red Devils shaped him into the world’s best footballer and in return, he performed all his tricks, flicks, and everything that personified him as the grown kid from Madeira.

As much as Manchester United may struggle to cop without Ronaldo, they may also find their way through to success again.

Michael Owen succeeds to Cristiano Ronaldo as Manchester United’s number 7 but the mesmerizing effect that the Portuguese had IS and will always be unique. As the proverb says, you must be either better or worse than a person [than Ronaldo]. As much as everyone is unique, you cannot equal someone in certain terms.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the “Winking Hero”, is forever irreplaceable.

Written by: Angela Asante

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