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Ronaldo Is The Right Choice

‘The Beautiful Game’ is considered by most to be the ultimate team sport. As you grow up playing the game, you will come across coaches who hammer home the fact that the collective rather than the individual is what will win you matches, win you leagues, win you cups.

It’s ironic then that on Monday night, the world was glued to their TVs, to their Facebook pages and their twitter feeds to await the anointing of the new king. To see who would wear the crown bestowed by Fifa to the best footballer on the planet!

Cristiano Ronaldo is that king. And while some may argue that it should have gone to Ribery or that Messi should just be given the crown until he quits playing, for me Ronaldo was the right choice. If you asked any of the top teams in the EPL, the Bundesliga or Serie A which player they would sign if they had the chance, I’m almost certain each and every one would pick Ronaldo. Consistently Ronaldo is a one-man wrecking team. Who is the more complete footballer between Ronaldo and Messi? I choose Ronaldo every time. Don’t get me wrong, Messi is a genius, certainly a player that comes along maybe once every 50 years, but I believe Ronaldo is more complete. He has more tools than Messi does.

Stick Ronaldo in any of the top three teams in any league in Europe and in each of those teams he is the best right winger, left winger, striker. He is the best creative midfielder, holding midfielder. He is the best right or left wingback. He is your best centre back. I think he would even do a job in goal. I’m not sure you could say the same of Lionel Messi. For pure pace, power, physicality, skill, passing ability, bravery and above all the need to be the best, there is no player that comes close to Ronaldo.

If the very average Manchester United were to sign Messi right now, I still doubt whether he would have the kind of impact that would get them into the top three this season. If Man United were to sign Ronaldo right now, I would give them an outside shot at still winning the title.

With that that said, I think Barcelona would be a weaker team if Ronaldo were to be acquired. Because he is that good, he automatically becomes the focal point, the tip of the funnel that everything happens through. Ronaldo seemingly creates a rip current that ensures the ball always comes his way.

The strength of Barcelona is that despite the audacious skill and goal production of Lionel Messi, the whole is still greater than the sum of its parts. The fact that almost every part is blessed with genius certainly doesn’t hurt. But it is still a team philosophy that ensures Barca beats you nine times out of 10, albeit that it’s usually the same executioner who delivers the final blow. Messi still plays for the team, within the structures that have been laid out, and when he isn’t there, sure, the team is weaker for it, but the philosophy ensures it’s not a hammer blow.

The team plays for Ronaldo, and when he is missing, it’s a massive gaping loss. Hence I believe that when it comes to the best individual in the world right now, Ronaldo deserves his crown.

Talking about crowns, our own Bafana are doing their best to wrestle some pride away from the African continent so as to be crowned Chan Kings. Now some may argue that this is a nothing tournament. If all our best players played overseas then I would say maybe you have a point.

But unlike Nigeria, many of our best Bafana players are still right here in SA plying their trade in the PSL, and I think it’s great that Gordon Igesund gets a chance to work with them and to have a look at the kind of depth we have should it be called upon. I’d personally like to see some younger players in the mix. A 16 or 17 year-old who is being groomed, but considering that not even our PSL teams are fielding teenagers, it is very tough to expect Gordon to do it. If we ever hope to have a South African player standing on a podium at the Fifa awards ceremony waiting to see if he is the best player in the world, it’s going to take some brave coaches giving some talented youngsters a chance.

All the best to the lads as they go up against Mali tonight (Wednesday), and let’s continue where we left off against Mozambique. The pride of the nation is at stake.

Shapa Clint

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