Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Lawton: Torres Outshines Ronaldo

"For Ferguson the agony last week was the underperformance of players he has nurtured so relentlessly. While Torres flew, Ronaldo mostly fluttered. Yes, there are some considerable points to be made in defence of Ronaldo. In every game he attracts small battalions of markers. His physical resilience is remarkable, and, a glance at their records tells you, far more so than the injury-prone Spaniard. He remains, with the possible exception of Wayne Rooney, the United player most likely to produce a sublime intervention, as we saw last week when the two of them combined to snuff out the rising hopes of Mourinho. So where is the most pressing point of comparison? It is in the sense of Torres' commitment, of a determination to inflict all that he has for the benefit of the team. Torres and Gerrard are at present emitting it from their very pores. Lionel Messi, along with blinding virtuosity, is doing the same on behalf of Barcelona. But Ronaldo is not and this, surely, gives Ferguson quite as much concern as the fact that Vidic went missing for a day. Ronaldo's absence, after all, has been rather more protracted – a fact illuminated by nothing so much as the passion of Fernando Torres."

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