Last season, Cristiano Ronaldo scored 42 goals in 48 games. He was the Premiership top scorer, he was the Champions League top scorer, he scored more goals than anyone else in Europe, he scored his side’s only goal in the European Cup final, and he won two trophies.
However, Guus Hiddink thinks Ronaldo’s awards were about glamour and a fancy haircut, believing Steven Gerrard was more worthy of the European and World Footballer of the Year awards Ronaldo has just won.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is a good-looking footballer, he looks fit and, oh yes, his hair is always in place,” said Hiddink. “But him winning the award is too much about glamour. I very much preferred Gerrard. He has superb technical and tactical qualities and I admire his spirit and attitude on the pitch. It has everything to do with his passion for the game and my passion for football. He is a player who fans can identify themselves with and a man who carries the love for his club on his club badge.”
The sad thing is, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has been more or less shunned by the United faithful this season, is more loyal to United than Gerrard is to Liverpool. Both players have question marks over them, although it is always Ronaldo who is shown as the more disloyal.
After winning the European Cup, Ronaldo said it was his dream to play for Real Madrid. Not once did he say he didn’t want to play for United and he did not hand in a transfer request. After Gerrard won the European Cup, he handed in his second transfer request to his ‘boyhood club’.
“Steven has told us he will not accept our offer of an improved and extended contract because he wants to leave,” a Liverpool club statement read.
A few days later, Gerrard changed his mind and was very understanding of the fans reaction. Rather than offering an appology to the fans of his so-called beloved club, he claimed he understood why they would be frustrated at the thought of losing their best player!
“I’ve got a fantastic relationship with the fans. I know they have been through a lot as well, which I’m not proud of,” said Gerrard. “They were close to losing their best player, so I can understand people getting frustrated. I feel as if I’ve made the right decision and as I said, I’m not proud of the week I’ve been through. It’s been difficult and very confusing. And I wouldn’t wish being in my shoes on any other person. But it’s all behind me and I’d like to forget about it.”
I can only imagine that had Ronaldo made such an incredibly arrogant statement he would have been ripped to shreds for it! Incredible!
“When I saw fans burning an old No 17 shirt by the Shankly Gates, it did my head in,” Gerrard said in his autobiography. “Show some respect.” Yeh, Liverpool fans! This is Stevie Me we’re talking about! Show him respect, even though he wants to leave your club for Chelsea! How dare you get angry with him!
After Ronaldo changed his mind, his statement to the press was far more humble.
“I can confirm that I’ll be playing for Manchester United next season,” said Ronaldo. “And before there are any rumours and speculation about me staying against my will, I want to make one thing clear: whoever says or writes anything to that effect is lying. I’ll be playing at Manchester United with my heart and soul. I will fight and honour the shirt with the same desire and dedication as I always have. I’m very aware of what this club has done for me and I’ll be eternally grateful. We all eventually concluded that I should continue to wear that No7 United shirt. It’s no sacrifice for me, it’s a great honour. I have important things to win in England. I will give everything I have to Manchester United.”
Aside from the fact Cristiano Ronaldo clearly had a far better year than Gerrard, to claim Gerrard is more loyal is plain stupid. Ronaldo owes United nothing, he’s no dyed in the wool United fan. The likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville owe us more and they’ve never handed in a transfer request. Ronaldo has made it clear since day one he would one day like to go to Spain. Yet he never handed in a transfer request and never said he wanted to leave. Gerrard has done that to his club twice, the club he is supposedly so loyal and committed to.
Let’s be clear, I’m no Ronaldo fan. I still haven’t sung his song and it’ll take a lot more than statements in the papers confirming his feelings for us to win me over. But I would never, ever forgive our proper players, the United lads, Giggs and Scholes and the like, for doing to us what Gerrard did to Liverpool. It would make me sick to see our fans singing for them and worshipping them if they had wanted to leave us for Chelsea and for anyone to ever refer to them as ‘loyal’ after handing in transfer requests would infuriate me.
Ronaldo and Gerrard are both at their clubs, but only one of these players actually stated they wanted to leave their current club. Yet he is one who Hiddink reckons loves the club.
Hiddink is having a laugh here and I think even the most deluded Liverpool fans would struggle to agree that Gerrard should have been named best in Europe and the World ahead of Ronaldo. I thought this guy was supposed to be one of the most informed managers around, but he clearly didn’t watch football last season if he thinks Ronaldo’s award is down to his fucking haircut!
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.