Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Who was the better Brazilian scorer? Ronaldo or Romario

When remembering Brazilian soccer legends, there are many names that come to mind, but perhaps the most memorable, of recent times, with all due respect to other greats such as Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Romario are the ones that people remember most. Maybe it's the fact that both Romario and Ronaldo transcended the sport with their play, or the fact that each won a world cup with Brazil in their primes. Whatever it is, both Romario and Ronaldo will forever be remembered to fans of the sport, but what makes them special is that casual fans, who don't really follow the sport as much will also remember them.  The question is who was the better player? Who brought more to the table? Who accomplished more on the international stage? This question is very hard to answer, but let's take a look. Let's start with Romario, since he came first. Romario was superb, he almost single-handedly saved Brazil from the embarrassment of being left out of the 1994 World Cup during the qualifying stages in South America, and then went on to lead the team to the ultimate glory by winning the tournament in the United States. An extremely cerebral player, Romario was the master inside the penalty box. He was one of the first of the "Wayne Rooney types," in that he was great at being able to go around three or four defenders and mysteriously find a way to score. During the 1990-1994 stretch run, Romario and Roberto Baggio squared off against who was the better player, and the thing that sealed Romario as the better player was probably his run during the 1994 World Cup. Romario was probably considered graceful, precise, and really an artist of his craft. He always looked like he wasn't trying, in fact he'd barely run or move that fast at all, but he was extremely crafty and he always found a way to move around defenders. He had a magnetic ability to make the ball come to him, effortlessly. Baggio, Hristo Stoichkov, and Zidane are players that come to mind that had a similar cerebral-like quality that Romario also possessed. Ronaldo was probably the exact opposite, he came forward, and came with aggression. He redefined the center-forward position, by combining muscle-power with a gentle grace in a balanced attack. Ronaldo was probably more in the Cristiano Ronaldo mold, an attacking player that has the ability combine both power with beauty. Ronaldo changed the game, because before him there was never a player that moved in such a way. That style of play of doing crossovers and stepovers was invented by Ronaldo. Unlike Romario, who waited for the ball in the penalty box, Ronaldo would simply take it all himself, dribbling past opponents, and either making a fancy move to score or make an assist. Ronaldo won three World Player of the Year awards, two World Cup victories, and perhaps could of had a third in 1998, and is the top World Cup goalscorer of all time, so just basing it by the facts, it appears Ronaldo is the winner. Looking further, Ronaldo truly changed the game with not only his play, but his personality, as well. Ronaldo played every game it seemed like it was a pick-up game.

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