Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ryan Giggs and Ronaldo ... (Oxymoron Project)

Seattle Sounders FC 0
Manchester United 7
July 20, 2011
X-Box Pitch - Seattle, WA

With the 2011 retirement of Brazillian great Ronaldo and the announcement of another year under contract for Welshman Ryan Giggs at Manchester United I found myself pondering the notion of how greatness is measured and careers are remembered. These two men are two of the great players of their generation and as their generation collectively winds down I think that there are reasons to use the two of them as examples.

Ronaldo ... A multi-club mercenary man known more for his international duty with Brazil than for his play (that one highlight reel with Barca aside) than for his play with any of them.

Giggs ... A one club man not know much for his international work with Wales.

The all time greats are generally thought of as Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, etc ... and they share the common theme of World Cup Glory. Ronaldo found himself in World Cup finals, despite an injury riddled club career that also found him fighting his weight and fitness.

It seems to be that players like Giggs get punished in the career evaluation for playing for a "lesser" national team. Giggs spent his career playing qualifiers and friendlies, and never in World Cups or Euros. Having all his success in the club realm has hindered how he is regarded.

Think of the Georges; Weah and Best ... No world cup appearances.

Even some great players are not judged as highly if they got to the big stage and did not win anything. Or, if they won a lesser trophy but not the World Cup ... see Platini, Drogba, Messi, etc ...

It causes players to choose and consider their national team representation ... like Gullit or Eusebio.

I never saw Ronaldo play, but I have now seen Giggs twice. Awesome.