As the highly anticipated World Cup clash between Germany and Portugal in the Brazilian city of Salvador looms, one could be forgiven for thinking that this is a clash between current Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal alone and Germany; such is the focus upon this world footballer of the year that all other subplots pertaining to the clash inevitably rest on his (hopefully now fully fit) powerful legs.
For instance, can the functional and efficient German machine stop him in his stride? Or can he finally lead a compact Portuguese side to their first ever World Cup triumph? Will Paulo Bento play him from the start or ease him in as a substitute to kill off the Germans? And can he match or surpass Lionel Messi, his other half in the players’ media spotlight, in performances and in scoring of goals?
For even if neither of this highly contrasting yet very brilliant duo fail to win football’s ultimate trophy or clinch the top scorer award, their performances are likely to be juxtaposed against none but the other. For any Oscar award, expect the event’s two main actors to create their own films worthy of the media’s bright cameras.
With Messi enjoying an average (yet still spectacular winning) start to football’s golden jamboree, the focus has now come to rest on this self-made yet gifted attacker. Can he achieve what the likes of Zinedine Zidane did in leading a country to its first-ever world title? Such a feat would in all probability end the debate in Portugal as to who is greater in his native homeland: Eusebio or him?
There could not have been a tougher assignment with which to test his full repertoire of skills than the resolute Germans. Amid all this hype, Joachim Low’s side will simply be targeting a win and with a squad full of proven performers, most of them still in their peak or nearing it, CR7 will need his supporting cast to be at full throttle, beginning with manager Bento, who is tasked with overseeing the cast from the sidelines.
How he directs this movie and enables his cast and crew to defeat the villain called Germany will be interesting to watch. Bruno Alves, Joao Moutinho and Fabio Coentreo form the main supporting cast while there will be useful back-up roles for Helder Postiga, Nani and Rui Patricio. Upcoming starlet William Carvalho may well nip in ahead of the rest to end up as the best supporting actor.
But they are up against a villain who will simply not lie down and die and is absolutely determined to ruin the script. Cold-blooded killers like Bastian Schweinsteiger, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil are backed by protectors of the fortress such as Manuel Neur, Per Mertesacker and that indefatigable captain of the villains, Philipp Lahm. Another friend but now turned foe Sami Khedira is also fighting to be fit to take the stage and thus spoil the show via his inside knowledge of Ronaldo.
But like any box-office hit, there is only one main actor in this smash hit and after all the jousting, jostling and spearing, the fate of the Star Actor will define the film, whether in defeat or victory. Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro must not only lead his troops to victory, but must do so in swashbuckling style.
Just trust the villain in this piece, Germany to have read the script.
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