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Barca Shine, Ronaldo whines

In the weeks building up to the game that Sky Sports presenters claim to be ‘bigger than the World Cup final’ all the talk has been about one thing. Who would prove themselves to be the best player in the world come the end of the Champions League final – Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi? For many people it is a simple answer and for others it is difficult to pick between the two. However, not many people predicted that come full time all the talk would be about another player, Andres Iniesta.

At 25 years old Andres Iniesta has established himself as the heartbeat of the Barcelona side that secured the Champions League trophy in Rome. His vision and ability to pick out a pass along with his determined work ethic and formidable partnership with Xavi has seen him rise to the very top of the Spanish and European game over recent years. So why was all the talk about Ronaldo before the game? Perhaps it is due to the rivalry between the two great European leagues that we overlook the ability of others. Or maybe the reason lies in the players’ attitude. Think back to the endless amount of interviews with Cristiano Ronaldo in the build up to the game. I in particular remember an interview on the day of the match in which Cristiano lightheartedly questioned himself about which player was the best in the world, those players being himself and Lionel Messi. Ronaldo, although with a mischievous smile, answered in a manner that has seen him become a hate figure to both rival and neutral football fans the length and width of the country. This is because Cristiano Ronaldo believes that he is the best player in the world and this is the area in which opinions become split on the Portuguese winger. Whilst some argue that he is simply a man with confidence many others feel he carries himself with an air of arrogance. Many a conversation with Manchester United fans on this subject has produced the result that a man of his ability has the right to be arrogant. Wrong. And the proof of just how wrong this is was evident on Wednesday evening when Ronaldo was outclassed by four opposing players, all of who conduct themselves in a professional and sportsman like manner. For instance, Lionel Messi was asked the same question as Ronaldo as to who was the better player between them. He responded by claiming they played differently and both had important roles within their respected teams. An honest and sensible answer that most will find it hard to disagree with.

The fact is that both players failed to shine in the way that midfield duo Xavi and Iniesta did. And in fairness to Messi he had a great game with lots of production. However after a bright opening to the game Ronaldo disappeared, leaving him open once again to the criticism that he goes missing in the big games. Don’t get me wrong, this by no means makes him arrogant. What does make him arrogant however is the manner in which he played out the final half an hour of the final. Kicking out at players, rash challenges and child like tantrums as it dawned on him that he would not be splashed all over the back of the worlds newspapers the following morning being hailed the worlds best player. He then went on to criticize his manager’s tactics and after earlier pledging his future to the club, once again threw it into doubt by claiming he was not sure whether he would be staying at Manchester United. This is not the actions of the world’s best player as in my opinion; the world’s best player must have all round qualities such as modesty, sportsmanship and compassion as well as the abilities he has with a ball at his feet. Ronaldo lacks all three which is the reason why I would not want him playing for my club, Manchester City. This is an opinion I have voiced many times in the past and have been mocked for each time. However, I stand by my choice. There is no doubt that Ronaldo is one of the best players the Premier league and the world has ever had the pleasure of watching. He has skill, power, balance, speed and creativity by the bucket load. But when all is said and done, I would hate for my club to sign a player who stands for all that I feel is wrong in football today – diving, arrogance and petulance. Instead I would much rather my club spent their money on players such as Xavi and Iniesta. Players who proved in the semi-final against Chelsea that hard work, craft and perseverance is the formula success. And while not many predicted it, the man of the moment is without doubt Andres Iniesta.

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