Chris O (follow on Twitter: @COakleyFtbl)
Thu 15 January 2009

Seven Shades of... Cristiano Ronaldo

With Cristiano Ronaldo adding the FIFA World Player of the Year award to the billions of other prizes he's won lately, we thought we'd try and link the disturbingly orange Portuguese winger to the first winner of FIFA's ultimate accolade, Lothar Matthaeus. Impossible? Not on this website...

Cristiano Ronaldo
Currently the best player on the planet according to FIFA (and when have we ever doubted their judgement), the former Sporting Lisbon star has already achieved so much in the first 23 years of his life. He's played at two European Championships and one World Cup, won the Club World Cup with Manchester United and scored on average a goal every three games for Portugal. Not only that, but he can do fancy step-overs too - he's that good. One of the more obscure honours to be found on his CV is that he was the scorer of Man United's 1,000th Premier League goal back in 2005. Scorer of the 500th was

Andy Cole
Sorry - ANDREW Cole, a Premier League winner with United when Cristiano Ronaldo was only eleven years old. Cole will forever be remembered as the hotshot striker who helped Newcastle United scale new heights in the early 90's before moving onto Man U and Blackburn. Before and after that peak time in his career, you might have found Andy (sorry) at any number of other clubs including Burnley, Arsenal and Bristol City, but life on the road for the Nottingham-born striker appears to be at an end now since he announced his retirement in November 2008. Strangely enough for someone who was the Premier League's top scorer in 1994, Cole only ever scored once for England, a record he shares with

Rodney Marsh
whose only England goal came in a 3-0 Home International match in Cardiff in May 1972. That was the year when Marsh was at the peak of his goal scoring capabilities, having banged in 106 goals in 211 games for QPR. There was no doubt that Marsh's goals helped the Loftus Road club rise from the old Third Division to the First during the time he was there, but by 1972 he was hot property. Snapped up by Manchester City (the Kaka of his day, if you will), Marsh couldn't replicate his QPR goal ratio and thereafter left for the Tampa Bay Rowdies with whom he played in two separate spells. Another former Rowdie is

Sam Allardyce
who left for Tampa after a promising start to his career at Bolton and Sunderland. Having played for nine different clubs in nineteen years by 1991, he got his first taste of management while still a player at Limerick in the Republic of Ireland. A switch in roles proved to be a shrewd move as he helped the club to a League of Ireland title in 1992, but this didn't stop him moving to Preston the following season to work on the coaching staff before eventually becoming full-time manager at Blackpool in 1994, Notts County in 1997 and Bolton in 1999. Big Sam developed a reputation for achieving success wherever he managed, but this came to an end following a brief, disappointing spell as head of Newcastle United where he followed

Glenn Roeder
in the hot seat. Roeder, like Marsh, had some success while playing at Queens Park Rangers (where he captained the side in the 1982 FA Cup Final), but in a managerial sense things haven't always been so good. When at Watford, Newcastle United and Norwich City, he was able to stave off the threat of relegation and push the team up the table before a return to bad form saw them plummet back down the table and he was fired. With Gillingham, Burnley and West Ham, he did away with the need for a recovery period and went straight for one long plummet down the table before being fired. No matter - as a player he can look back on happier days with QPR and Newcastle, the latter of which he also captained after

Kevin Keegan
had held the position prior to his retirement from football in 1984. 'King Kev' was a football legend long before he ever set foot on Tyneside, thanks in no small part to the UEFA Cup and European Cup wins he'd had with Liverpool and the European Footballer of the Year awards he picked up in 1978 and 1979 while with Hamburg. A true embodiment of all that was good about English football back then, he never did enjoy major success while playing for the national team in a ten-year international career. The closest he got was when England reached the last twelve of the 1982 World Cup, a competition he largely missed through injury. His only appearance was in his team's last game against Spain on July 5th 1982, six days after England's penultimate match against West Germany which Keegan watched from the bench just like

Lothar Matthaeus
who was doing likewise for the opposing team. As Keegan's international career was ending, however, Matthaeus found his was just beginning and it would go on to feature more honours than most players could even dream of. A European Championship winner in 1980 and a World Cup winner in 1990, Matthaeus also reached the heights in his club career too. He won the Bundesliga seven times between 1985 and 2000 with Bayern Munich, Serie A once with Inter and the UEFA Cup twice (once for each team). To top all that off, the legendary German midfielder even won the inaugural FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1991 - an honour only bestowed upon twelve other people... the latest of which, you'll remember, is Cristiano Ronaldo.

And there you have it - The Seven Shades of Cristiano Ronaldo via Glenn Roeder and Rodney Marsh, to name but two. A journey worth embarking upon, we hope you'll agree.

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