Weekly Report: Well done Arsenal, but all hail the original Ronaldo

by Luke Bradshaw

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

Well done Arsenal. I am aware that it is only half-time in the tie, but it is a result that should generate some confidence to take to the Nou Camp. Barca will still be the favourites, but there is plenty to play for.

At times Barca were their usual impressive self, but for large parts of the match Arsenal were creating the real chances. And two people in particular deserve special recognition: Jack Wilshere and Laurent Koscielny were the best players on that Emirates pitch.

Just like Fabregas was tutored by Xavi and Iniesta during his La Masia schooldays, that same knowledge has been passed on to what is unquestionably England’s most talented youngster since Wayne Rooney burst on to all sorts of scenes. Last night he was incredible: composed, dynamic, optimistic and with a beautiful range of passing.

Behind him, Koscielny marshalled a defence that can be susceptible to serious lapses of concentration. Having to deal with a physical bombardment in the Prem, he can seem somewhat flustered, but last night he ushered attackers away from goal, cleaned up loose balls, blocked bravely and read the game at all times.

While the likes of Arshavin, Nasri and Fabregas applied the clinical finesse to the winning goal, it was Koscielny that won the ball and Wilshere that started the move. Both will have to play the same and better if Arsenal are to progress.

And before the other side of the Seven Sisters road goes mental; well done Spurs as well. Milan are by no means the team they once were. There is no Maldini, Baresi or Savecivic. Or even more recently, a young, fit Alessandro Nesta and a pre-Abramovich-bloated Shevchenko. That aside, Spurs got a win in the San Siro and that deserves praise.

The snarling Gattuso lost his head as it dawned on him that this team – as much as he loves it – is a ghost walking in the shadow of its former sides.

This week also brought the retirement of Ronaldo (the original and the best). Messi and Ronaldo may be gorging on goals at this moment in time, but for five or so years Ronaldo was the most devastating player in the world and by far and away the best striker of his generation. Messi scored 47 goals last season, Ronlado managed the same during his season in Catalonia, but played in four less games than the Argentine.

Despite a career seriously impeded by his frail body, he still managed 247 goals in 343 games. From 1994 (when he arrived in Europe at PSV) to 1999 he scored 150 goals in 181 games. Certainly in my lifetime, I have never seen a striker as good as Ronaldo was during his pomp. Even after his injuries, at Real when he was supposedly past it, he rattled in goals for fun. Greatest striker of all time? Quite probably.

Favourite thing this week: Any number of the Ronaldo youtube clips I watched this week. Here is just one of them.

or this one.

or this one as well.

Follow me on twitter here to tell me a better striker of the last twenty years.

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  • Stan

    Sir Jack Wilshere, that’s all I have to say

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