Cristiano Ronaldo was the subject of much criticism on social network sites and fan forums alike for his failure to prevent Portugal exiting the World Cup at the group stages despite scoring the winner in the 2-1 victory over Ghana.
However, the Real Madrid forward is not to blame, for despite his sensational skill and abilities he cannot carry an entire team by himself.
Lionel Messi comparisons
Comparisons with Lionel Messi, who along with Brazil’s Neymar and Germany’s Thomas Muller is leading the charge for the Golden Boot, are inevitable but the resources available to both players could not be more different.
Whereas Messi is surrounded by the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero and Angel Di Maria, Ronaldo is forced to try and carry a team where only Manchester United flop Nani boasts any real star quality.
Eder impressed with his physical approach, but Pepe’s vicious temper and sending off during the 4-0 demolition by Germany marred his tournament whereas Joao Moutinho’s decision to snub more established clubs for the moneybags of Monaco last summer has stunted his development.
Ronaldo’s ability to make a difference has also clearly been hampered by the knee injury sustained during the latter stages of last season. It seems over five years of constantly featuring at the Santiago Bernabeu without missing many games has finally taken his toll on his body, and on his fitness.
Coach Paulo Bento must shoulder the majority of the blame. Ronaldo has played under the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti but Bento’s tactical naivety was another factor in why their participation in this year’s summer showpiece is now over.
It was obvious what he desired to win a game was for the ball to be given to his talisman and captain. Yet in doing so, Ronaldo was easy to nullify with bodies lining up in front of him to block his way to goal. In the end, he was fortunate to leave the finals with his name on the scoresheet at all.
Despite the scintillating consistency that has been a part of his game for many years now, by the time the 2018 World Cup in Russia commences he will be 33-years-old. It now seems that his best chances of lifting silverware in the colours of his country have passed him by.
The European Championships of both 2004 and 2012 were the closest he has come. In 2004 he was part of the side that under Luiz Felipe Scolari were beaten by Greece 1-0 in the final on home soil, whilst two years ago he opted to take the fifth and final penalty in the semi-final shoot-out against Spain, only for the opportunity never to arise.
Ronaldo’s international career could be one of regret. One thing is certain, he is blameless for the class of 2014’s poor showing.
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