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Is Cristiano Ronaldo over-rated and over-hyped?

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Varun, from SportZForumZ.com, writes in about Cristiano Ronaldo and questions whether the hype surrounding him is deserved or not

We all know this player, Cristiano Ronaldo.

Cristiano Ronaldo, the young talent who has taken the soccer world by storm in the past 2 years. The fans hold their breath as the ball graces his nimble feet. The commentators let loose their excitement at the sight of the young lad out running the defenders and the managers get off their seats to see what he is up to.

His presence is enough to boost the TRPs of any event or match. But seeing him on and off the pitch, one question arises- Is he really worth all the praise heaped upon him or is he just another of the hyped footballers? On going beyond the face value of his quick stopovers and entertaining rabonas and back heels, we get to know a lot about him that dispels many of our beliefs about his being a ‘great footballer’.

What makes a great player is more than just his skill. His grace, elegance and the way he carries himself on and off the pitch is what separates a great from the rest of the players.

The first major problem with Ronaldo is his arrogance. He has it in excess. What we saw at the San Siro, Milan 2 years ago is a proof of that. The 20 year old Ronaldo dared to push The Brazilian Great, Cafu, a player who has to his credit 3 World Cup finals, 2 World Cup triumphs, the Scudetto and Champions League triumphs among other silverware and awards. Ronaldo’s angry glare was returned with an understanding smile from Cafu.

Also, he was involved in a nasty case in which he allegedly ‘showed his finger’ to Benefica fans at a match. On the pitch, aggression (something that he does not lack either) can be understood, but vulgarity crosses all the limits. This incident spoke a lot about his personality.

The biggest fault found in him today is his cheap act of diving to win free kicks and penalties. He has been repeatedly accused of diving in EPL matches and more recently, against Middlesbrough in November ’06 and against Tottenham Hotspurs in March ’07.

Probably, the main reason why he is so valued today is because he plays in the most watched league in the whole world, The English Premier League, watched by over 20 million people worldwide.

When they see him play well, they mistake him to be one of the best in the world rather than one of the best in England. They overlook other players in different leagues like Zlatan Ibrahimvic, Adriano, Pirlo, Kaka, Torres, Villa, Messi, Ribery and Juninho among others. This was the reason why Thierry Henry and recently, Didier Drogba have shot to fame and have been compared to the Greats of the game while better players exist in the world.

When we compare him with Ronaldinho, we find a lot of similarities in their careers. As Luiz Felipe Scolari (who has managed them both) said, “Ronaldinho had a steep rise in his career after the FIFA World Cup ’02, and Ronaldo has had a steep rise in his career after the EURO ’04 competition.”

But today, when many regard Ronaldinho as a hyped player after watching him being a flop in the 2006 World Cup, one wonders is this a similarity between them too? When we see them closely, we know that both of them play similar roles for their clubs and countries, and more or less, they play somewhat similar style of football. They both have their trademark entertaining styles and make the crowd go gaga over them.

But today, as Ronaldinho fails to shine in his bright yellow Brazilian jersey, many cite hype and resultant pressure as the main reason for his lack of form. Before Ronaldo falls victim to the same prey, we must grade him sensibly and not just over burden him with our expectations. We must remember that he is just a 22 year old budding star, not a 22 year old star.

Logically, he should not be regarded as more than the ‘new kid on the block’. If we give him this status, we could see a lot better and a lot more from him in the coming years.

The comparison with Ronaldinho justified, it is really sad when he is compared to the Brazilian living legend Ronaldo. The comparison, which started with the name, has today reached comparisons of skill and personality.

It is unfair to compare a young footballer to a player who has won innumerable laurels and trophies, scored 15 World Cup goals and what not. It feels bad when we have to mention the legend as Ronaldo (Brazilian) and not the youngster as Ronaldo (Portuguese).

Well, we sure have a lot more of him to see. Maybe, and hopefully, he will prove all his critics wrong and do justice to this image of his’. But as of today, we sure are just hyping him up, which could lead to all the wrong results.

He sure has the potential to be a great, but today, he is not one. The day has to wait when he earns the right to be inducted into the glorified list of the game’s elite.

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