Cristiano Ronaldo finally answered his critics last season when he proved that he did have ‘end product’ on top of his marvellously skill full feet. He shone last season, which is something even those who hate him cannot deny. The boos and whistles from every set of opposition fans we came across only inspired Ronaldo to do more. He ran faster, he kicked the ball harder, he pushed himself to a new level with his skills, and he scored a ridiculous amount of goals, particularly for a winger.
The recognition was given for his 2006-2007 season was: PFA Players’ Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year, PFA Fans’ Player of the Year, Football Writers’ Association Award, Barclays Player of the Season, Portuguese Footballer of the Year, Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, Manchester United Players’ Player of the Year, as well as a spot in FIFPro World XI and the PFA Premiership Team of the Year. We also cannot forget his second place finish for European Player of the Year, and his third place finish for World Player of the Year (which is a top I addressed here).
There has been a lot of talk of Ronaldo sustaining this good form, of him proving he is not a flash in the pan by repeating his performances of last season. In the twenty games he has played for United so far this season, he has scored seventeen goals. He is the Premiership’s leading scorer with twelve goals in fifteen games. He is the Champions League’s current top scorer of the tournament, with five goals in five games. It was his European game that was lacking last season, but it is so far so good for our Portugese winger.
However, if we look more deeply at Ronaldo’s form, we can see that this isn’t a case of him sustaining the form of last season, but blowing it completely out of the water. This time last season, with one game of 2006 left to play, Ronaldo had scored ten goals in in twenty four matches. If you look at that as a direct comparison, this time last season he’d played in four more games, and scored seven less goals.
It wasn’t a case of Ronaldo suddenly springing in to life in the latter part of last season either. He continued with his good form, improving slightly, scoring fifteen goals in twenty nine games. When you consider though that already Ronaldo is just six goals short of matching his goal tally of last season, it brings about frightening prospects.
Ronaldo is the player in this country that others are measured against. Cocky Arsenal fans claim that their young Cesc Fabregas is a better player than Ronaldo and deluded Liverpool fans claim they’d rather Torres in their team than Ronaldo. Essentially though, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Ronaldo is the most effective player in the league, and scousers would sell their own nan to have him in their team.
It is frightening for our rivals to see that Ronaldo, who lit up the Premiership last season, is looking even better this season, and all at twenty two. The future is bright for United, but terrifying for those who are trying to prise our title away from us, in the short and long term. If he can play this well at twenty two, then what will be doing at twenty five, which is when his current contract with United is due to expire.
Ronaldo has shown no signs of tiring, and after missing out on two awards he felt capable of winning, he will only be inspired to keep getting better and better. The £12.25 million transfer fee looks better value for money with every passing game, and I can only imagine what great heights our Ronaldo will have reached come this time next year.