A couple of years of ago, Beckham left ManU for Real Madrid and, a few days later someone new showed up wearing the No7 shirt. “Who is that?”, I wondered.
Within about 3 minutes, I said “I think we got the better end of the deal here. This guy is much better than Beckham”. This guy was Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo is one of those rare geniuses that appears now and again and, like most of his predecessors (Best, Bowles, Hoddle, Marsh, Cantona, Maradonna), he is flawed.
I love watching players like Ronaldo. If there is a single category of player that is my very favourite kind it is Flawed Flamboyant Genius. You can go a whole lifetime without having a Flawed Flamboyant Genius on your team. It seems that most fans – and many managers – don’t like Flamboyant Geniuses so I am rather fortunate that my team – ManU – rather likes having them around. Right now I am in the incredibly lucky position of watching two of them every week – for Rooney is a Flawed Flamboyant Genius too – and I love them both. Rooney is slightly ahead in the Genius department but Ronaldo has Flamboyance streaming from every pore and is therefore my favourite player of the two.
Julio blogged yesterday about how all the England fans boo’d him during the Germany and France games – he was extremely unpopular in England even before the world cup. What Ronaldo did during the England/Portugal game was no different to what Rooney would have done had the roles been reversed. It is terrible and sad that Ronaldo will be forever blamed for knocking England out of the World Cup and ridiculous too. Ronaldo bears no responsibility for the red card. Rooney got sent off all on his own.
I hope beyond hope that Ferguson is able to work his magic and keep Ronaldo at ManU but, even if he does, this year will be extremely difficult for him.
Eric Cantona – my second favourite flawed flamboyant genius (and bearer of a red No7) of all time – had a series of commercials during this world cup entitled “Joga Bonito” and he ended each one saying
If Ronaldo is forced out of England because of petty spite, the beautiful game will have lost a little of its beauty and that will be a great shame.