Posts Tagged ‘Champions League’

Ronaldo Van Persie

Evening all, it might not seem like a clever idea to preview a match a little more than an hour before it kicks off.  There is a good chance(probably better than 50:50) that anything I say might turn out to be drivel, but here goes anyway!

I am of course, blogging about tonights clash between Real Madrid and Manchester United in the Champions League.  Almost all the articles and TV previews I have seen bill the contest as a face off between Van Persie and Ronaldo. I don’t see it that way though.

The Van Persie/Ronaldo debate.  Ronaldo has been astonishing since he joined Madrid from United, he has averaged more than a goal a game, and was the catalyst for Madrid’s record breaking league season last year.  Van Persie on the other hand has been equally brilliant over the last couple of years for both Arsenal and United.  He has an uncanny ability to score with one touch and seems to generate great power and accuracy with little back-lift or time to think.  Crucially for him, he has stayed fit and benefited from playing every week and shaking off those niggling injuries that used to plague him as a younger player.  Both are extraordinary talents, there is no doubt about that.  I give the edge to Ronaldo, I feel that he is the more consistent player and has the frightening ability to tear lesser teams apart.

Having said that, I don’t think he will be the difference between the two sides over the upcoming games. In my view, if Ronaldo has one weakness, it might be that he can sometimes go missing for long periods of the very biggest games, and I’m not sure that Madrid can afford for that to happen over the two legs against United.  Although there is no doubt that Ronaldo is a star, I’m not sure they have the same team unity or will to win that the guys at United have.  With United, I get the feeling that if Van Persie doesn’t fire, then Rooney will, and if Rooney doesn’t, then someone else will step up.

It all comes from the fantastic winning mentality that Ferguson has created at United over the decades, his players are winners, even if some of them don’t have the same star quality that other teams possess.  This is something that Mourinho installed at Porto, Chelsea, and at Inter.  His players would have literally run through brick walls for him, and I’m not sure that the same attitude has been established at Madrid.  I’m not sure it can be, and I expect him to leave Madrid this summer, whether or not his quest for a third Champions League trophy is successful.

So cue a Ronaldo hat-trick probably, but I will go for United to win both games.

By the way, I hope it is a little warmer in Madrid than it is in England’s Northern lands.  Its brass monkeys here!

Brass monkey

*Pictures by The Telegraph and Nerdjackers