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With regard to Silvio Dante's comments, it would a agree it is somewhat of a surprise that such a legend still seems so young, but you also have to consider the brutal toll his career took on his body - his knees were weak and basically shot by 2007, essentially ending his top lever career at 30, but bloody hell did he cram some splendid goal scoring into the years he did play.
I only had the pleasure of seeing him play live the once, at Old Trafford, CL QF 2003, and he was even then fading somewhat, top heavy, lacking pace, but he was awesome. The football mind and the jaw-dropping finishing still there for all to see, and he left the pitch to a standing ovation from the United faithful even though they snuck past us into the semis by the odd goal in 11. Made Beckham look like the fat-arsed pub league clogger and it was one of DB's better days.
And as a final point Ferg', regarding Everton's good return against United, they got 5 points because United were utter bobbins last season. Teams that failed to tonk such a sorry shower should hang their heads in utter shame (Arsenal).
...I remember Ronaldo hitting the scene and it is also the main reasons for watching Gazzetta Football Italia and Italian Football on C4 in the late 90's once he moved to Inter.
He was phenomenal in his early days at PSV, his season at Barcelona was out of this world and then when he moved to Inter, he carried the hopes of that team up until his first ACL injury in 99. From then on it took him a year to recover, the finishing, power, skill was there, the pace wasn't, the hesitancy of a serious injury always at the back of his mind. Don't get me wrong he was still an excellent player and his goals in 5 years at Real Madrid show that (83 in 127 appearances) notable hatrick vs Man Utd at Old Trafford even at half pace, but he definitely didn't play with the same hunger, desire after than double knee injury.
Watch his 34 goals for Barcelona in the 96-97 Season and you'll see what an absolute gem of a player he was and why he is widely regarded as the most complete striker in the last 30 years. He simply had everything in his locker.
...Silvio Dante, you missed out (not seeing the real Ronaldo in his prime) on watching a genius. The way he opened himself up and then just glided past a defender, to then coolly slide it past the keeper was pure joy. He had such an electric acceleration. His first 2 yards was amazing. He never controlled the ball dead, it was always into an area in front or to the side, so it would allow him a shot.
I believe that his story is genuine reason to allow extremely talented young players time to develop. Players who are playing 30 + games a year at 17,18,19 are often burned out by the time they reach 30. Especially those at the very top of their game. The media attention and the expectation must be overwhelming - from a mental point of view.
Look at what happened to Ronaldo before the 98 World Cup Final. He was only 21 and being touted as the greatest ever player. The pressure built and built until finally the night before the final, he cracked, broke down and was in such a state that he had convulsions.
He did of course have a great career, but can't help but think had he been able to develop at a slower pace, would he had been playing at the highest level for much longer than he did ?
Michael Owen is another example. A Genuine Football Manager 'Wonder-kid' at 18, who was pretty much done by 26-27.
Neil (The Specials said it best...'Too much Too Young') Surrey
Spurs: Know Your Place
I've been reading comments from Spurs supporters about who their next manager should be and talking with my spurs supporting mates about it. And one thing that I just can't get my head around is how a majority see the size of their club. There's a lot of negativity towards Benitez, but this would be the same man who's won trophies everywhere he's been (even if it was just the Italian super cup at inter). Why would spurs supporters not want him? In fact why would he want to go there?
I hear them talk about "awaking the giant" and playing football the spurs way! Seriously? Spurs have a good fa cup record and used to play attractive football. That's all there is. They're not a team that challenge for the title most years, let alone win it. They talk about their prestigious history. Two league wins in their history? Huddersfield, Aston villa, wolves etc have a better history.
In my 29 years, tottenham have won 1 fa cup and two league cups (uefa cup came a few months before I was born). There is nothing "big" about this club. Sacking managers for not making the top four? So their powers that be really expect them to challenge man utd, Chelsea, arsenal, Liverpool and recently man city for league spaces? On what grounds?
Believe it or not this is not to mock spurs, I just think some realism is needed from the club. Once the chairmen realise they are one of the "best of the rest" teams, maybe they'll stop sacking managers for not making champions league, get some stability, maybe win some cups and then better players will want to come for a chance to win silverware.
Dave (didn't mean to rant) Herts
...Jim Bags, Bedfordshire says 'De Boer - Now here's a man I can get behind. Young, forward thinking, dashingly handsome and about as likely to wear a gilet as Pulis is to put a suit on on the touchline. He talks of wanting to make a difference to a club, to leave his mark. Spurs is a club in need of restructuring. We need someone like de boer to lead us to the promised land. Plus he knows how to use Eriksen.'
If only there was a young Portugese manager who also fitted that mould! He could almost be talking about someone else! Spurs had this and they sacked him. AVB will come back to haunt them.
I'm not normally a fan of comparing football to any other job, because clearly football plays by its own weird unique rules, but I do think an analogy might help here when thinking of Sherwood.
To those who say he was "refreshingly outspoken", do you have a boss who would find you "refreshingly outspoken" if you persistently, publicly, criticised him for not making your temporary promotion permanent, or if you persistently, publicly criticised your colleagues for not being up to the task?
Would your workplace dig your honesty if you claimed that you weren't being promoted far above your level of qualification because there's a conspiracy against English workers? Would your staff praise your no-nonsense approach if your strategy failed and you blamed it on their lack of character? My God, I heard him after the West Ham match, and he dissected the game, picking on the likes of Michael Dawson, like a f**king pundit. How is that ever going to help?
Does anyone like a shameless self-publicist? Confidence is all well and good, but the guy alienated everyone around him with his supremely unfounded arrogance and often paranoid mutterings. Football involves working with people. If you're not a people person, then how are you going to succeed?
Honestly, my head hurts just from thinking about him. Never in the history of caretaker management has so much b0llocks been spouted by just one tireless, tiresome, t*t of a man.
Shaun (almost felt sorry for him when his job was being touted around when he was still there, but how can you demand "respect" from players you've done nothing but deride?) Livingston
Regarding Spurs' next manager, can we put to bed this myth (peddled in this morning's Mailbox) that Mauricio Pochettino can't speak English?
As the world ought to know by now, the whole thing is a ruse designed to throw dirt in the eyes of the football press. Decent one too, i'm amazed no-one ever thought of it before.
I'll bet Pochettino speaks better English than Tim Sherwood with the added bonus that every word that comes out of his mouth isn't akin to a turd falling into my drink (credit Bill Hicks for that description).
I'd be cautiously optimistic about Pochettino, de Boer or Benitez (dull but successful).
But we'll probably end up with Les 'I don't believe in defensive midfielders' Ferdinand acting as an assistant to David Moyes before taking the job full time after Moyes gets sacked three games into the season.
It's never boring at Spurs, is it?
Rob Davies, THFC
As we are often told by anyone who has an opinion about our great game, players should be judged on their ability to perform at the highest level.
The likes of Messi being a good example of a player yet to "do it on the big stage of a World Cup."
Well after 14 years, 400 appearances and a magnificent 79 goals, Tyneside's very own Shola Ameobi looks like getting his chance with Nigeria.
This will surely prove that this man was right and many, many of us were wrong when he inevitably finishes top scorer in Brazil, proving himself a world striking sensation and sees out his twighlight footballing years playing for Barcelona.