Players Review 08/09: Cristiano Ronaldo
Though Ronaldo is off to Madrid, he won't escape our season review. He's next in the line after Rio Ferdinand (the number six, Wes Brown, did not play enough games for an individual review) so the timing is perfect.
b>Position: Erm... let's say that 'attacker', that's certain.
b>Squad number: 7 (he'll lose this though)
b>Games played: 53 (5 as a substitute)
b>Goals scored: 26
Best game of the season
His majestic, irresistible performance at the Emirates Stadium in May. He set up a goal and scored a brace: a stunning long-range free-kick and a cool lob after sprinting 70 yards off the pitch to finish off a counter-attack which he had started. Magnificent, unforgettable, devastating. It seems ridiculous to recall now that Arsenal were regarded as favourites in the press before the games... of course they are always hailed as the best team ever if they manage to play two good games in a row.
Worst game of the season
He got stick for his Champions League final performance which was entirely unjustified: isolated up front after the 10th minute he could do little... However, he had a nightmare of a Champions League game: the first leg against Porto when nothing came off for him. Poor crosses, sub-standard finishing and a mistake that led to the opening goal - after he decided not to track back, of course.
His early injury did not force him to miss many games but his fitness was obviously not what it should have been for a long time. His motivation was clearly and obviously lacking, too and he turned on his full power only in the latter stages of the season when the awards were in sight. His season was littered with strops, petulance and nasty, underhand fouls - but again he was our top scorer, dug United out of many a hole and produced some absolutely brilliant performances.
Vital's Rating: 8