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The 80million man: Why Real Madrid broke the bank to land Cristiano Ronaldo

11 Jun 2009 14:15:17

The 80million man: Why Real Madrid broke the bank to land Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo may look like a model from a L'Oreal advert, but is he really worth Real Madrid's world-record offer of £80million? At just 24, the winger has won everything in the game with Manchester United and was a deserved World Player of the year in 2008. But is Ronaldo's success the product of his individual ability or the people around him at Old Trafford? Sportsmail ponders whether anyone can really be worth £80m... Shooting Ronaldo's scored 118 goals in 292 United appearances, including 84 in the Barclays Premier League. A fantastic record. He has an undoubted knack for hitting the back of the net, be it with a free-kick, penalty (that 2008 Champions League final effort apart, of course) or a brilliant individual finish, but has benefitted from the unselfish play of those around him. Will we see Wayne Rooney, for example, get his name on the scoresheet more often in Ronaldo's absence? Manchester City boss Mark Hughes has also identified a potential problem with the way the Ronaldo attacks the ball at set pieces, ignoring spin and striking down on the ball. 'It's a completely different technique to anyone else I have ever seen,' said Hughes. 'It is such an unnatural movement and I wonder whether he will be able to maintain that technique throughout his career without causing himself some damage. 'It is something that could cause problems, so he will have to build a lot of strength into his thighs and in the muscles around the knee.' Nothing to stop Ronaldo passing that Real Madrid medical, of course, but something to keep an eye on in the future... Verdict: 8/10 Pace and power Ronaldo has that essential burst of pace to take him past defenders, but it is his power and upper body strength that allows him to turn a promising opportunity into a goal-scoring one. He has averaged 49 appearances a season in his six years at United, a testimony to his fitness. Verdict: 9/10 Heading Ronaldo is very strong in this department, as his height (he's 6ft 1in), timing and goal-scoring nous mean he's often in the box to bury chances for United. He put United ahead in the 2004 FA Cup final against Millwall, for example, with an almost nonchalant header from a Gary Neville cross, and his header in the 2008 Champions League quarter-finals away at Roma gave United just the start they needed. Verdict: 9/10 Tackling The winger is not the sort of player to track back and waste valuable energy defending at the death, although he can tackle when he feels like it. The United system allows him to do this, as other team-mates sometimes take his share of the burden to keep Ronaldo fresh for those bursts of individual brilliance. In the same way that Eric Cantona had a tendency to drift in and out of games and then win them at the last minute, Ronaldo could never be described as the complete, all-round footballer. Verdict: 6/10 Discipline Ronaldo's haul of 40 yellow cards and four reds at United is not an impressive total, but the player would argue he is goaded in the Premier League and his reputation for diving goes before him. These arguments, though, are mere excuses for a player who has a tendency to think the world's against him - and is prone to losing his cool on occasion. 'I have come to understand that every movement I make, on or off the pitch, is analysed to death," he said last December. 'People are always waiting for me to do something and they pick on absolutely normal and unimportant things to criticise. 'They analyse things that have nothing unusual about them through a magnifying glass.' Get used to it - it's going to get a lot worse from now on. Verdict: 6/10 And finally... style Ronaldo may have opened fashion boutiques and marketed his 'CR7' brand, but there's something very...erm...continental about his personal style. The permanently bronzed body, dodgy fashion sense and slicked back hair may go down better in Madrid than it did in Manchester. Verdict: 3/10


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