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Ronaldo Is Developing Into A Fine Centre Forward

I was firmly against the idea. Rooney on the left, Ronaldo through the middle? What's the point? Why put a great striker on the wing and a great winger up front?

Well, that's why. Rooney's playing some of the best football of his career on the left these days while Cristiano Ronaldo confirmed there's future for him up front.

Too often his attitude wasn't right this season, true, but I'm beginning to believe that his diminished effectiveness compared to last season was mainly due to the fact that Sir Alex all too often played a 4-4-2 in which Ronaldo's potential is not maximised.

I'm a huge fan of Berbatov and firmly believe he will come good but this season he has not been able to reproduce what Louis Saha achieved in 2006/07 where his pacy, mobile centre-forward displays brought the best out of Ronaldo on the wings.

Last season, however, Ronaldo played centrally more often than not and even when he was deployed wide he was usually part of a fluid, interchanging front three which suited him wonderfully - his stats confirm that. This season's less fluid 4-4-2 meant a more fixed position for him which he did not relish.

However, just look at the way he exploded against Spurs after Tevez was brought on and our considered 4-4-2 approach gave way to utter madness. Look at his excellence against Porto where he won us the game with a ridiculous goal and played his forward role to perfection, helping United to keep the ball, giving time to his teammates to come further up the field with the attacks.

And his display at the Emirates tonight (OK, yesterday night) was just about everything you could ask from a centre-forward. He scored a fabulous free-kick, started and finished a sweeping counter-attack, drifted wide, dropped deep, won headers and got his shots on target. Oh, he was a danger from corners as well.

This is what he loves, what he craves: the freedom of the pitch, to be able to roam all over the field. He doesn't have the intelligence or the discipline of Wayne Rooney but possesses even more sheer, explosive talent which must be utilised. Playing him as an orthodox winger, seemingly, is not a very good option anymore.

Very often I felt this season that we might have cashed in on Ronaldo last summer. Not anymore. I dearly hope we can hold on to him, that his words about his Madrid dream being dead were honest because he's just about irreplaceable. After tonight's magnificent showing, I feel I'd miss even his arrogant swagger.

Was he rubbish in this big game? Did he look like as if his heart's not in it?




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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday May 6 2009

Time: 1:05AM

Your Comments

An absolutely AMAZING one at that! He had a fantastic game and for all those who said he never showed up in big games.....
ForeverUnited
An absolutely AMAZING one at that! He had a fantastic game and for all those who said he never showed up in big games.....
ForeverUnited
ROnaldo was scintillating and as much as it pains me to say this as a gooner, i feel 4-1 flattered us and not you. You were a class apart fair play and good luck. As for ronaldo i think he is best most outstanding player ever to play football in england. Period. THE BEST, above all, henry bergkamp, giggs, dalglish, george best bobby charlton,, the best in terms of ability and quite possibly achievement if he wins the champs league. but to be fair we'v hade pastings from you lot before, i seem to remeber the 6-1.....(dont forget, we came back the following season and won the league at your place)
operationmindcrime
ROnaldo was scintillating and as much as it pains me to say this as a gooner, i feel 4-1 flattered us and not you. You were a class apart fair play and good luck. As for ronaldo i think he is best most outstanding player ever to play football in england. Period. THE BEST, above all, henry bergkamp, giggs, dalglish, george best bobby charlton,, the best in terms of ability and quite possibly achievement if he wins the champs league. but to be fair we'v hade pastings from you lot before, i seem to remeber the 6-1.....(dont forget, we came back the following season and won the league at your place)
operationmindcrime
I think ronaldo delivers in big games more times than steven gerrard. and i feel he is mentally the toughest player. You guys will drop a massive clanger if you let him go Massive massive clanger.....other than leonel messi, no one can replace him.....and should he leave, and whoever comes in his place be it kaka or ribery....you;ll be in decline......he is by far the best player fergie has ever had
operationmindcrime
I think ronaldo delivers in big games more times than steven gerrard. and i feel he is mentally the toughest player. You guys will drop a massive clanger if you let him go Massive massive clanger.....other than leonel messi, no one can replace him.....and should he leave, and whoever comes in his place be it kaka or ribery....you;ll be in decline......he is by far the best player fergie has ever had
operationmindcrime
Finally! this is what I have been saying for the longest time! Ronaldo loves life at United. He is winning! Also, they FINALLY discovered that Rooney on the wing adds great crosses, shots, and tracking back to help the fullback. Ronaldo up front lets him roam and that is when you see him at his best!
Paulinho
Well said Zae!
Paulinho
Finally! this is what I have been saying for the longest time! Ronaldo loves life at United. He is winning! Also, they FINALLY discovered that Rooney on the wing adds great crosses, shots, and tracking back to help the fullback. Ronaldo up front lets him roam and that is when you see him at his best!
Paulinho
Well said Zae!
Paulinho
Ronalderado is a truly special footballer. We Blues over at Eastlands are of course taking bets as to what minute he gets sent off, and a multiplier as to how. I'm going for 67 minutes for a blatant dive. A safe bet, I'm sure you'll agree.
Sindbad
Ronalderado is a truly special footballer. We Blues over at Eastlands are of course taking bets as to what minute he gets sent off, and a multiplier as to how. I'm going for 67 minutes for a blatant dive. A safe bet, I'm sure you'll agree.
Sindbad
Ronaldo as a striker away from home is great because his pace and ability on the ball allow us to get posssession in the opponents half. His pace on the counter is a constant threat. At home in the premier league against a battling, physical side like wigan or everton, he would come unstuck, because they would just sit back and essentially force him to play with his back to goal which he hates. Against a top team, who is willing to attack, he can exploit the space they leave and run at them head on. If we dumped tevez and brought in a benzema style striker (fast, strong, tall, good first touch and finish) the interchange between the three with carrick, hargreaves and anderson behind will make us the most complete team in the world. I really hope we win the champions league this season, because next year, with a striker who likes to play off the shoulder of the last defender, we would win everything! (unless we suffer key injuries obviously)
tuscan3000
Ronaldo as a striker away from home is great because his pace and ability on the ball allow us to get posssession in the opponents half. His pace on the counter is a constant threat. At home in the premier league against a battling, physical side like wigan or everton, he would come unstuck, because they would just sit back and essentially force him to play with his back to goal which he hates. Against a top team, who is willing to attack, he can exploit the space they leave and run at them head on. If we dumped tevez and brought in a benzema style striker (fast, strong, tall, good first touch and finish) the interchange between the three with carrick, hargreaves and anderson behind will make us the most complete team in the world. I really hope we win the champions league this season, because next year, with a striker who likes to play off the shoulder of the last defender, we would win everything! (unless we suffer key injuries obviously)
tuscan3000
Was worried about this formation too, because I thought it might hold Rooney back and make him less effective, but he can play well anywhere and he seems to be in the form of his life. Ronaldo is terrific, and everyone seems to be playing amazingly well at just the right time :D
Man utd champions
Was worried about this formation too, because I thought it might hold Rooney back and make him less effective, but he can play well anywhere and he seems to be in the form of his life. Ronaldo is terrific, and everyone seems to be playing amazingly well at just the right time :D
Man utd champions
 

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