Date:Sunday December 9 2007
I am not the sort of fan that can be easily swayed by a player. It takes a player a decent amount of time to be regarded as my favourite player. To me, they have to earn that accolade from United fans.
The players that I take a liking to don`t necessarily have to be incredibly gifted with skill and talent (although that helps). They don`t have to be the sort of player that scores 20-30 goals a month, or the sort of keeper that concedes one goal in a decade.
Instead I look more at their personality and the way the conduct themselves on and off the pitch, and I think that that`s the best thing to have in a player.
Everyone would like to have Ronaldinho and Totti on their side, but if they moan when it goes wrong and fail to turn up to training sessions, that`s no good. It ruins the team morale and even the club`s image.
So for me, the players I have looked up to down the years are the likes of Ryan Giggs, Roy Keane, Gary Neville, Steve Bruce, Solskjear and of course, Denis Irwin. These are just to name a few.
All these players are first of all, very good players. But so are Ruud Van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, Jaap Stam and many more and even though I like these players a lot, they don`t stand out that much to be my favourite players.
My favourite players have great determination and work rate (Denis Irwin). They have brilliant loyalty and are always willing to sign a new deal (Ryan Giggs).
These players also seem to have a great bonding with the fans, (Bruce) and earn honours like being called the King of the Stretford End (Cantona).
And another reason why I like them so much is the way they only speak to the press about football matters. The media hardly publish anything about them except from what they do on the pitch. And also by the way they conduct themselves, they always put the club before themselves (Solskjear).
On Tuesday night, while walking down the stairs of the East Stand and down Warwick Road, I wasn`t speaking to my fellow reds.
Instead I was in complete silence as I realised that I was at that stage were I was to decide whether a new name should be added to my list of favourite players.
The candidate: Dong Fangzhou... I mean, Cristiano Ronaldo.
I tried shaking myself up after noticing Ronaldo`s addition would break almost every rule in my favourite player list.
Despite having more tricks than Krusty the Clown, and having the pace of Gordon Brown chasing after a rich business man, Ronaldo isn`t the sort of person I would normally idolise.
During his early years at M16 ORA, Ronaldo would rival salmons for diving. It was easy to notice his immense potential and talent, but the diving bite a huge chunk out of his popularity image (even with some United fans).
Although Ronaldo has done a great job in cutting it out of his game, he`s still baring that scar that City fans and BBC pundits like to stab at.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a fairly good looking bloke. This means that if you type in his name on Google images, 85% of the pictures that come up are of him half naked on a beach somewhere in Barbados. This isn`t a bad thing, and come to it, isn`t really his wrong doing.
However this celebrity status means that the press dive unto the chance to make up ridiculous stories that ruin the players popularity and image. Recently he and Anderson were accused of having cuddly time with another woman. The woman then raced to The Sun and bellowed aloud the story. She obviously did this in the hope of earning a bit of money.
But being so good looking has obvious rewards. The girlfriends Ronaldo gets makes every male in site dribble.
But although these reasons break my favourite player rules, the fact that I am still considering him makes him something special.
He might not seem that type, but for quite a while now, Ronaldo has been playing with great work rate and determination. His pace helps him, but Ronaldo still has to work to make those runs. Look at the goal against Bolton at home last season. Ronaldo picked up the ball and sprinted the length of the pitch to lay it off to Rooney who finished well.
Whenever any other player gets the ball, they are guaranteed the fact that on either wing, Ronaldo will be making a defence splitting run. As I said earlier on, being so good already gives you a 50% head start to becoming a fans` favourite. Ronaldo is certainly good, and is a joy to watch.
He is still hated by the rest of the country, and he is the sort of player that if he didn`t play for United, I would hate him with my soul. He`s a good looking and gifted lad. A combination that almost invites hatred.
Despite this, Ronaldo at his tender age is very thick skinned. He still puts in world class performances that highlights how little he cares about the tedious boos from opposing fans. He seems to just dust himself down and let his quality do all the talking.
A special player is someone who comes up in vital times of games and a moment of brilliance changes the whole turnout of the game. Ronaldo certainly ticks this box as we found out last season.
And after watching that free kick against Lisbon of Tuesday, it was confirmed in myself that even at this fairly early stage, Ronaldo is a potential legend.
By Henry Kibirige
Date:Sunday December 9 2007
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