Barcelona defender Dani Alves made what at first glance may seem a pretty ridiculous statement recently.
Alves told reporters at a media open day at Barca’s Nou Camp stadium:
“This Manchester team is much more unpredictable without Cristiano Ronaldo,
“You can see now that they have built a much more balanced side, stronger than a couple of years ago, added the Brazilian, who missed the 2009 final through suspension.
“They are dangerous across the board and packed with great players.”
The reason I label it ‘ridiculous’ is that it would seem a bit far-fetched to claim any team that used to have a player of the calibre of Ronaldo is ‘stronger.’
However, there may be a small modicum of truth to Alves’s bold claim. After all the current United side has won the league and is in the final of the Champions league, just as the 2009 team were.
The current squad may have won the league with ten less points than 2009 but they’ve also scored ten more goals and been winners by a bigger margin, so it’s difficult to say which team is actually ‘better’ or at least more successful.
It’s also worth noting that in 2008-09 Ronaldo may have been United’s top scorer with 26 goals in all competitions but some of his attacking team mates, seemed to suffer in front of goal.
Carlos Tevez for example managed just five league goals in 18 games, while new signing Dimitar Berbatov failed to hit double figures in the EPL.
Compare that to this season where both Chicharito and Berbatov have been scoring goals for fun and suddenly there’s a validity to Alves’s statement.
I’m not talking about 2008 when Ronaldo swept all before him, I’m looking at the team that played Barcelona in Rome, the class of ’09, the side that at times looked like CR7’s supporting cast.
I’m not for one second claiming I wouldn’t welcome back Ronaldo with open arms were he to return to Old Trafford, what I’m asking is does the Barca full back have a point.
With no one ‘superstar’ yet a whole host of potential matchwinners, United may be at an advantage to the side that “didn’t turn up” in Rome.
Although there’s the counter arguement that it may be that lack of a true ‘superstar’ that prevents us from having a real chance against Barcelona. Chicharito, Rooney, Valencia, et al are all world class, but they’re arguably not quite contenders for the title of ‘world’s best’ which Ronnie is and was.
So the question is are United better equipped for the final without Ronaldo in the team?
Answers below or on a brick through the usual window please.
In my oppinion I think we are no where near as good when we had Ronaldo when he played at man utd he won loads of rewards for been the best player in the world but since he left united for Madrid he is now the second best player in the world so I think we were better with Ronaldo than with out him.I think alves is just jelouse because Ronaldo is better than him well do u know what I call that unlucky m8
I think what Alves was referring to is the fact that we (to a large extent) relied upon Ronaldo to be our main creative (and goal) outlet while others would be a supporting cast. I think he does have a point here as we seemed to rely upon Ronaldo more and more as that season went on. The idea to quickly get the ball to Ronaldo so he could use his pace/tricks was becoming a standard practice for us. Once Ronaldo became alone and isolated, we would struggle against many of the big teams.
This was visible in the 2009 against Barca when we would (finally) get the ball and then quickly try to play it up the pitch in order to get behind them. Most of the time Ronaldo got the ball and went running at Barca who would surround him and get the ball straight back. I think he felt he had to show everyone that he was better than Messi!
Furthermore, Fergie played Ronaldo as a striker because he stopped chasing back when he lost the ball. This had cost us several times in the season.
I think we are better off without Ronaldo against barca because of his unwillingness to defend or bring others into play. The team has more outlets for goals now and everyone puts in a better defensive shift.
I am worried for Valencia though, as I think Barca might try something similar on him – they will try to keep him occupied (possibly with Messi against Fabio/Valencia) so that he keeps in defensive positions. The middle, where rooney will be, is going to be very congested anyway so the ball out to Valencia will be difficult but key to our attack. I will leave it to the genius of Fergie to sort out the tactics!
GO UTD! Hope we win!
PS I would love to see Ronaldo back in Man-u colours as well!
we are now A TEAM. we depended too much on ronaldo then rooney last season. now we are a very dangerous team that can take on barca
I’d be careful not be be too hard on the 08/09 team because they did win the League and made it to the CL Final which is success by any standard. All that said, by that season our attack was in fact becoming somewhat predicatable and too reliant on Ronaldo (though a big caveat in that he was the world’s best).
My take on it is that in most cases, we were (and would be) stronger with Ronnie in the team; but against Barca I feel there may be truth to Alves’ statement. Few teams could cope with Ronaldo’s greatness, regardless if they were expecting him; but that single attacking outlet did not work against Barca, and hasn’t for RM since either. Even if none of current players don’t stack up individually as high as Ronaldo – simply having less predictability, more options and routes of attack is more valuable against Barca in the final.
We due respect to d 09 team cos though lost in d final,earned d reputation of being second best in europe.howeva,d present united team i’l say is better than d 09 team.we are beta off wfout ronaldo.we play as a team now compared to then wen we had 2 over rely on cr7.our team has match winners in each player now unlike then wen if ronaldo flopped,d whole team floppd.although,wuld love 2 c ronnie back somday.4 nw,we are beta off wfout him
I believe we are far better now than when CR7 was around.I feel relax for each game if a particular player doesn’t feature.
alves and all barcelona have ENVYLOVE FOR CR7…THEY LOVE/HATE HIM CUZ RONALDO IS THE GOD OF FOOTBALL…BARCELONA ARE ALWAAAAYS,ALWAYS TALKING ABOUT CRIS CUZ THEY LOOVE/ENVY/HATE HIM,ALVES YOUR HATE MAKES CR7 STROOOOOONGER!!!!RONALDO WILL COME HOME SOMEDAY…MAN UTD/FERGIE/CR7 MY 1ST & ONLY LOOOVE…