Sunday, 21 June 2009

Ronaldo exit paves way for Rooney ascension to World Player Of The Year

Soccermongery: spot on again! This was written in June 2009 as Cristiano Ronaldo waved adios (or adeus) heading for Madrid.

For all of Wayne Rooney's industry and goals since joining Manchester United in 2004, Cristiano Ronaldo's been Old Trafford's outstanding star of the last five years.

His flicks, tricks, tantrums, car crashes and .... oh yeah, great goals have secured him every major gong, both personally and for United.

And now he's gone - to partner Kaka in midfield at the Bernabeu. Not a bad partnership in the centre of the park. Adeus Ronaldo!

Now step upto the plate, Wayne Rooney.

He's just scored a record ten goals in a season for England - and with 24 goals for his country, aged just 23, he's on course to break Bobby Charlton's all-time England scoring record of 49.

All this in the year that Rooney scored the winner in the World Club Cup Final - having claimed a third successive Premier League title.

Some say United will be weakened without Ronaldo in their line-up, but those voices don't take into account the depth of their squad, the determination of Fergie and Rooney's workrate.

In the shootout to be World Player Of The Year, the subtext to this year's Champions League Final, Messi beat Ronaldo with a goal and a winner's medal. The Argentine will replace Ronnie as the planet's finest player when they announce it in six months time.

But even if United don't reclaim Europe's top prize next season, Rooney has the chance to stake claim to the ultimate individual prize the following season. With Ronaldo's departure and Rooney coming into his prime, few will be able to compete with him.

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