Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cristiano Ronaldo not as good as Steven Gerrard, says Guus Hiddink

Russia coach, Guus Hiddink, claims Steven Gerrard should have been crowned World Footballer of the Year ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo, likening the Liverpool midfielder's quality and ability to that of George Best.

Full of praise for Rafael Benitez's captain, the former Real Madrid manager said he did not even rank Ronaldo in his top three.

"Liverpool's Steven Gerrard, Lionel Messi or Xavi from Barcelona deserved the award more," he told the Mirror. "Ronaldo is only focused on finishing in front of goal.

"I love Gerrard's qualities as a player and a leader. Technically and tactically he is the best. His passion is enormous, he means as much for a great team as George Best.

"He is a player who fans can identify themselves with and a man who carries the love for his club on his club badge. There is not another player in the world who combines all those qualities.

"I like him so much more than Ronaldo."

Hiddink continued to say that coaches and captains who voted on the award were duped by the "glamour" that comes with the Portuguese winger, insisting that his constant media exposure and good looks won him the accolade.

"Of course, Ronaldo entertains the crowds and has great skills. But it is too much glamour and show," he said. "Cristiano Ronaldo is a good-looking footballer, he looks fit and, oh yes, his hair is always in place. But him winning the award is too much about glamour."

Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is confident the 23-year-old will be fully fit to face West Brom on Tuesday.

With an already lengthy list of injuries to worry about Ferguson was almost without Ronaldo for their FA Cup fourth round contest with Spurs due to illness. But while discussing the calf and ankle injuries Fabio and Danny Welbeck picked up respectively, Ferguson confirmed that Ronaldo was not one of his worries.

"Cristiano has picked up a little bug," he said. "We had to get the doctor to him and I didn't think he was anywhere near ready but he showed the appetite to play and it is always good to have him on the pitch.

"He will be better by Tuesday."

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