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Pele On Best, Now Kaka On Ronaldo – Why Cristiano Won’t Win Ballon d’Or

Ronaldo vs KakaNext week will be two years to the day that George Best died, after battling against an alcohol addiction for years. He has been hailed as the greatest player ever in the game time and again, and is often the mark any bright prospect at United is measured against. However, his title as the greatest ever is disputed by some, but even Pele, who rivals Best for the accolade, said George was the greatest ever player.

There is much debate over who is the best player in the World at present. Meelan’s Kaka seems to be most people’s favourite, after his storming displays in the Champions League last season. No doubt he took the piss out of us in the semi’s, and scored a whopping 10 goals in the competition, which ain’t too shabby for a midfielder! Our very own Ronaldo, who collected a clean sweep of the individual awards at domestic level, looks to be snubbed for the up and coming Ballon d’Or, with the impressive Brazilian set to steal the plaudits. However, if we look at the two players last season, Ronaldo scored more goals, and had twice the assists of Kaka, when taking in to consideration all club competitions. Kaka collected a pitiful eight goals in thirty one appearances for AC Milan in the league, in a season where they finished fourth and were essentially, just a cup team. Granted, the best Cup going, but still just a cup team, focussing all their energy on the Champions League. The team we battered 7-1 at Old Trafford finished some fourteen points ahead of Milan. Even without the point deduction the club faced for corruption, they would have finished third, twenty eight points behind the Champions, Inter. In contrast, Manchester United lead the table from the start of the season, with Ronaldo scoring crucial goals against several clubs, and racked up two goals in three games for Portugal in their Euro 2008 qualifiers. In total, he scored 25 goals in the 56 matches he played in last season, for club and country, which is phenomenal for a winger, and managed 20 assists for United.

Now of course, the Champions League attracts more attention from Europe than the Premier League, and therefore it is not much of a surprise that Kaka is receiving all the attention at the moment. Turning up for a handful of games in the Champions League, (and by turning up, I mean playing exceptional football!) appears to be worth more than showing up week in week out in your own league. Ronaldo had the highest number of assists in the league last season (13) and was the third highest scorer (17), behind two out and out strikers who both had great seasons. He made the difference between United losing and winning on so many occasions, and essentially, contributed invaluably to winning the title, and our most successful year since 1999.

Now, just as in the past Pele has added weight to our argument that George Best was the greatest ever, Kaka has provided Ronaldo with a great shout for the best player currently in Europe. “He is the best,” said Kaka, of Ronaldo. “Not only for his technical ability, but also for what he has done with Portugal.” Whilst Chelsea’s Drogba is tipping himself for the award, it is great to see the modesty of Kaka, as well as hearing the praise for our player.

The Ballon d’Or winner is due to be announced within the next few weeks, but I won’t be getting my hopes up over a Ronaldo win. A United player hasn’t been crowned the best in Europe since George Best in 1968 (with Denis Law and Bobby Charlton winning it before him), which is ridiculous considering the talent we’ve had since then. Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, Roy Keane, Peter Schmeichel and Ryan Giggs, to name the first few players who spring to mind, haven’t even been in the running. Dwight Yorke scored 30 goals for us in the Treble winning season, but rolled in at 11th place that year. Andy Cole, who made up the other half of the highest scoring partnership in Europe that season, managed a 26th place finish. The closest United players have come to scooping the award since Best are Cantona, who was voted third in 1993 (behind Dennis Bergkamp and Roberto Baggio) and Beckham, who was voted second in 1999 (behind Rivaldo). The Italian League has seen seventeen winners, the Spanish league has seen twelve winners, and the German league has seen nine. The English league boasts only five winners. The figures don’t bode well for Ronaldo.

Regardless, it is nice to see our young winger be recognised and praised so highly by the player the World of football is currently ranting and raving about. Whoever the winner, there is no doubt in my mind that Cristiano Ronaldo contributed more heavily to the success of his club and country than any player in Europe last season, and I wouldn’t dream of swapping him for Kaka, or Messi, or anyone else. So here’s to Ronaldo, our player of the year!

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Alex says:

    Well said great article, Ronnie might not win it but in Uniteds eyes, he’s immense!

  2. jsos says:

    I hate to say it, but is does say something for Kaka to have made the comments he did. Ronnie thrives on adversity though – let’s face it, United does. And so, with all that we win, we do it in spite of the recognition we are denied. So while it would be nice not to constantly defy the masses.. I appreciate that we shine through regardless

  3. NorwegianDevil says:

    Hear Hear!

    There has always been bias in Europe when it comes to the premiership. So it’s no real surprise that Ronaldo wont get the Ballon d’or.

    At least to me. If a English player or a player in the premiership should get the award he must play so much better than everyone else week in week out in every competition, if he don’t the award will go to Spain or Italy as it always does.

    Well. All United fans know who should really win it don’t we?

  4. Tayo says:

    A deep look into the football last season shows that our ronaldo is the very best, He deserves the award, To me, theres a little comparison btw Our ronaldo and kaka, kaka is good though, but Ronaldo is best, Ronaldo is skillful, fast, plays freekick, he is a threat to defenders and all that, and i think he should get the award and if he doesnt, then premier league is not recognised when it comes to Ballor d or. Christiano Ronaldo, I wish you the best, You are my man all day, Here in Nigeria we call you ORORO

  5. pdm says:

    In fairness best players come to light at defining moments.. when their team needs them most. Last year Ronaldo did it against the likes of fulham, kaka did it against united so yes he won us the league but it was probable rooney who looked on the bigger stage as if he had more to offer.(note the first leg milan goal.) For Ronaldo to take his place alongside chartlon law and best I think he should take note of John giles comments..”he does things great players do but he also does things great players would never do”… if you are wondering about about this consider his free kicks and even more so that pathetic flick he tried in the rain in the first minutes of the second leg in milan. In my own opinion he is top few when considering technique and physique individually in the world and possibly out on his own when combined but he has to mature to a serious degree.

  6. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    pdm..Also consider his flick to Rooney to set him up against Watford at home or the one hundred flicks he did all season. You can’t really just point at one incident like that. I can point to a game where Kaka did nothing but give one good pass to set up Inzaghi. Mascherano dominated Kaka in the final but I would never say something like “If Kaka was facing Gattuso as well, he would show signs of immaturity.”
    Ronaldo was the best player in England. True, he could show up more in big games but the statistics say it all

    I’ve always argued that Cristiano deserved the award and to see people pounce at the first opportunity to go against him as soon as Milan got to the final was disappointing. Kaka has a better reputation than Ronaldo, who people still seem to think of as a selfish brat but Kaka didn’t do much domestically as Scott points out. I think he was their penalty taker and to score 8 goals isn’t impressive at all.

  7. PeeJay says:

    Good thing Kakà’s a midfielder, ey.


  1. [...] in the country he does makes it highly unlikely he will win the awards anytime soon, which is an issue I addressed back in November. Players in England miss out on the award, they are overlooked [...]


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