Date:Friday August 29 2008
It was little surprise that Petr Cech won the award for the best goalkeeper of last season's Champions League campaign. After all, in the final, he single-handedly kept Chelsea alive in the first half where we should have buried them.
It could be expected that Lampard will get the midfielder award as Xavi wasn't consistent enough, Fabregas's team did not get past the last eight, Scholes scored only one goal and did not play really well in the final.
It was entirely predictable that Ronaldo will win the best forward award: as the competition's top scorer he was a shoe-in (though 10 goals in 2002 wasn't enough for Ruud van Nistelrooy, overlooked for Real Madrid's Raul. And they say UEFA have no bias against English clubs).
Ronaldo, of course won the best player award as well and as he scored important goals against Lyon, Roma and Chelsea, nobody could argue that he merits the prize.
However, John Terry as the best defender? Come on. It beggars belief. I was certain that Rio Ferdinand would get the award as obviously he was the most deserving candidate.
United conceded two goals during the knockout stages, Chelsea conceded six. Terry was all over the place at Anfield particularly, troubled by Fernando Torres throughout - Rio was always composed, had Eto'o in his pocket in the semi-final, for example.
Also, compare United's and Chelsea's route to the final: Terry had to withstand the devilish attacks of Olympiakos and Fenerbahce while United were drawn against lightweights such as Lyon and Roma. Yet we remained unbeaten, unlike Chelsea, and it owed very much to our defensive resilience, to the defence that was marshalled expertly by Rio.
I know that this award has little significance and I'm not very disappointed. I know why he got it of course: for his tears in the final, to compensate for the missed penalty. The reason why the real prize had been presented to Rio and co.
Date:Friday August 29 2008
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