Lionel Messi, Jose Pekerman’s folly
Lukas Podolski was awarded FIFA’s award for the best youngster of the World Cup. The choice of Cristiano Ronaldo generated so much heat in the wake of his unsportsmanlike shenanigans in the match against England, lobbying for Rooney’s removal. Worse, he was caught on camera, winking at a fellow Portugese player after that.
The Mirror sums up the frothing English media, labeling Ronaldo, a latter day Greg Louganis (surely, an unwelcome distinction for the great US diver).
Ronaldo was the frontrunner for the award until this extra-ordinary turn of events. In the last 24 hours, there was a surge of emails in favor of Luis Valencia, Ecuador’s midfielder before the end of voting.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a very talented player and he showed it in the match against France, the only threat against the French defense. But his days in Man U are numbered. Even before the World Cup, there were reports that Ruud Van Nistelrooy (another player not known for his people skills) and Ronaldo were at loggerheads. If the match against France encapsulates his unpopularity, imagine what would happen playing in the EPL. I don’t think scoring mere goals would rehabilitate his image. He would have to eat fish n’ chips for the rest of his days (and mushy peas!!).
The award goes to Lukas Podolksi who does not fully deserve the honor, IMO. One of the strengths FIFA cites is his ability to combine with Klose. The only time it happened was against Sweden. The last two matches, against Argentina and then Italy, the Podolski- Klose combination was AWOL. He scored three goals, two of them in combination with Klose. He is a great talent no doubt, with his great speed and an ability to turn on a dime. However, he does not come close to the ball skills of Lionel Messi.
I have a feeling that if we had seen more of Lionel Messi, and Pekerman had not kept him as the best kept secret, he would have been the find of the tournament. We will have to wait a little more time but he will prove to be far better than Lukas Podolksi or Cristiano Ronaldo.