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Latin himself go
Ronaldo is a marvellous talent but needs to show more application if Brazil are to hang on to the World Cup.
Tony Cascarino, 29 Jun 2006
This World Cup has proved that Ronaldo’s nowhere near the player he was a couple of years ago. I remember seeing him when he was with Barcelona and his movement, pace and ability on the ball were incredible.
He’s still got brilliant awareness, but he’s too big, not as mobile as he should be, and doesn’t work hard enough. I can't believe that Real Madrid have let him get so obviously out of condition. He only gets away with it because the players around him are so good. Even so, Brazil need more from Ronaldo if they're to justify their position as favourites.
Another striker suffering from a loss of form at the moment is Ruud van Nistelrooy. Two years ago, Thierry Henry and him were at the same level, but you can’t say that now. The Dutchman has fallen from grace in a big way, and never got going in the three games he played in the tournament.
Something must have happened between him and Marco van Basten, similar to what happened between him and Fergie. Don’t forget that van Basten was a centre-forward, and he knows how that sort of player works. He probably spotted that van Nistelrooy wasn’t looking confident, wasn’t where he needed to be, and that’s why he left him on the bench against Portugal.
That game was such a close encounter between two teams who knew what they were supposed to be doing. But it’s disastrous for football to have so many players booked. Football is about impact. You’ve got to have players getting in and mixing it. I didn’t think there was any need for many of the yellow cards given out in that match. There seems to be no warnings nowadays, players are just booked straight away.
And what did the referee expect? Portugal and Holland were playing in the last 16 of the World Cup, and you want commitment from players in that situation. You want them to show desire, not to be pulling out of tackles. Showing so many red cards ruins the game as a spectacle. When I played with Ireland we were a tough side, we weren’t afraid to mix it. But in today’s game we would have been sent off by half-time for playing like that.