World Player Of The Year Editorial: Why Ronaldo?
27.11 || scharatz
Yet again this year the majority of football supporters across the globe have been left scratching their heads at the nominations for the World Player of the Year.
The trio up for selection have been revealed today as Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry..... (I'll give you a few minutes to look at those names again)..... and yes you did read it right first time, the name of Czech Republic midfielder Pavel Nedved is not there!
Surely some mistake I can hear you say? But no, the wisdom of 142 national managers have selected Ronaldo ahead of the Juventus midfielder and for that matter AC Milan's living legend Paolo Maldini.
The decision is simply baffling as you've told us in your droves on our message board and on our poll, which is emphatically in favour of Nedved rather than the goofy Brazilian, who won the award last year, as well as in 1996 and 1997.
Lets take a look at the evidence to explain just why this is a travesty:
Nedved inspired Juventus to the Scudetto this year and also to the Champions League final, which he consequently missed through suspension, and it was clearly the biggest factor, along with Dida's penalty saving, why Juve didn't lift the trophy.
It doesn't end there as Nedved also played a key role in the Czech Republic's superb achievement in topping their Euro 2004 qualification group ahead of the Netherlands.
So what does Ronaldo have to offer in comparison? Well, I'm not suggesting he's had a bad year, but he hasn't been electric for Real Madrid or Brazil in 2003. Admittedly he played a large part in Real's La Liga success, although many would say that was fortunate and undeserved.
Meanwhile, in the Champions League, Ronaldo's Real were outclassed by Nedved's Juve in their semi-final defeat, although the Brazilian missed the second leg through injury.
While there are many calls for Maldini to be included in the running for this honour there is also a strong case for the other two players up for the award. It is true that a number of the points against Ronaldo also apply to Zidane, but the midfielder was a much more consistent performer than his fellow Galactico, while he also helped to inspire France to a 100% record in their Euro 2004 group.
Few can question Zidane's name from being short-listed for any award as he is without question a genius and in my opinion is the best player of his generation, but his departure from Juventus two-years ago has hardly been noticed, thanks to that man Nedved.
There is no doubt in my mind that Thierry Henry's inclusion is a correct decision and of the three candidates he should now be crowned the winner when the award is dished out in Basle next month.
The French striker has outlined his class more than ever before in the past 12 months, even though he couldn't lead Arsenal to the Premiership title, or to success in the Champions League, up until Tuesday's imperious display against Inter Milan. However, at times he has looked like he's carrying a football club on his shoulders, while he was brilliant on the international scene and also led Arsenal to win the FA Cup.
I'm yet to hear anyone defend Ronaldo's inclusion, so who on this earth voted for him? The respective football federations of those managers among the 142 polled that named the former Barcelona and Inter Milan superstar should be rethinking their appointment, as the man in charge of their team clearly has some stardust in between his ears.
Ronaldo is a global phenomenon, as is the image of the Brazilian football team, so reputation has surely won the striker the majority of his votes rather than his performances, which if is the case makes this prize a joke and not worth the publicity as it is little more than a popularity contest.
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