Monday, July 6, 2009

Ronaldo Presented at the Bernabeu

If Kaka's 50,000 spectators was an impressive turnout (the third largest ever), Cristiano Ronaldo's presentation was record-breaking. Approximately 85,000 to 90,000 fans filled the Bernabeu to welcome the world's best player to his new home, the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu. Ronaldo will be wearing "9" and will not have a "c" in front of his name, thus his shirt will be identical to that of fat, excuse me, Brazilian Ronaldo.

Comparable only to Maradona's presentation in Napoli (75,000), Ronaldo's arrival was met with chants of "Si, si, si, Ronaldo ya esta aqui!" (Yes, yes, yes, Ronaldo is now here!). Ronaldo's short speech acknowledged that it was his childhood dream to play for Real Madrid, and he concluded by reaching a deal with the fans. He would count to three, and then they would all yell, "Hala Madrid!" together. It was a dream come true for nearly everyone in the stadium, probably excepting only Catalan journalists witnessing the event.

While questions remain about Kaka's level, there are no such doubts about Ronaldo's. The best player in the world, rivaled perhaps by Messi, Ronaldo combines a unique skill set that is virtually unmatched. The only questions are where Pellegrini will play him (striker or midfielder) and how quickly he adapts to the Spanish game.

Beyond that, any concerns are truly secondary to Ronaldo. Whether the team gels, or if the defense has been properly reinforced are circumstances surrounding one fact - when Ronaldo is on the field he is one of the best, if not the best, in the world. Indeed, while Ronaldo may enjoy questionable fashion choices, the company of ladies, and the nightlife generally, his professionalism, dedication to the game, and will to win are unquestionable. At 24 he is the youngest of the so-called galacticos ever signed.

Next up, Benzema.

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