By Tom Oldfield - Free Kick Magazine
Nobody splits opinion quite like Cristiano Ronaldo. Many believe he is currently the best footballer on the planet. Others take a wholly different view, preferring to focus on accusations of diving and petulance. One thing is for sure, he is a constant talking point.
This season, just like 2006/07, he has inspired Manchester United to the Premiership title and has gone one better by leading the club to win the Champions League against rivals Chelsea. He has scored 42 goals in all competitions and swept all the major end of season awards. So what is the problem?
Well, it centres around the attitude with which he plays his football. Some fans are still frustrated by how easily Ronaldo falls to the floor when challenged and how petulantly he responds to opponents attempting to tackle him. He is seen as an example of everything that is wrong with the modern game. Footballers did not used to be like this, they say.
But in many ways this is unfair. Firstly, Ronaldo – who will undoubtedly be one of the stars of Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland this summer – has cleaned up his act since he arrived in England in the summer of 2003. At first, he tumbled theatrically too often and his team-mates even seemed to grow irritated with his antics.
Read the rest of this article in the June 2008 issue of Free Kick Magazine, available at Whitecaps games and at sports centres across the Lower Mainland; or click here to visit Free Kick Magazine online.