Nostalgia regularly gets in the way of player assessment but, looking at it ruthlessly, Manchester United’s greatest ever player comes down to a toss up between Cristiano Ronaldo and George Best. Law, Charlton, Rooney, Cantona, Scholes, Giggs and Duncan Edwards are all contenders.
But in terms of global recognition as world stars, these two have to take the top two places on the podium. And while Best will be remembered as perhaps more of a Manchester United man, Ronaldo’s statistics must give him the nod overall.
At 30 years of age he has scored 52 in 119 for Portugal and and astounding 429 in just 620 games in his club career. Not bad for a winger. So far this season he has 54 goals and 20 assists for Real Madrid. An managed over forty goals in his bewitching, penultimate season for Manchester United.
But is Manchester United’s best ever player on the wane? It happens to every footballer and while many expect Ronnie to go on for years, he has started to look mortal for the first time over the last few games for Real Madrid.
He had a penalty saved against Valencia and didn’t have anywhere near the impact on the game that we have come to expect. For the first time in 6 years there is a genuine debate about who Real Madrid’s best player is. With James Rodriguez thrilling the Real Madrid fans on an increasingly regular basis, Ronnie doesn’t look particularly happy right now.
So perhaps it is he, and not the much younger Gareth Bale, whose place at Real Madrid is most at risk.
Of course we saw a similar loss of form with Lionel Messi last year and he is mesmerising everyone once again. But Messi is only 27 and Ronnie is now in his thirties. Perhaps the two games a week are finally taking their toll.