As widely predicted Kaka of AC Milan picks up the European Player of the year award, or if you’re a bit continental the Ballon d’Or. Many times have players from the Premiership been over looked over the years in favour of players from Spain and Italy. Michael Owen won the award, with a few eyebrows being raised, in 2001 ahead of Raul and Oliver Kahn of Madrid and Munich respectively. So is the Premiership always being overlooked for the more favourable, classy leagues of Spain and Italy?
To be honest, what do personal awards mean these days? Kaka, a sublime footballer that glides over a football and combines superb technical ability with pace, strength and a desire to perform on the highest level. Compared to Ronaldo, you would have to say that what Kaka takes from Ronaldo in vision, he certainly makes up for it with skill and dribbling ability. So there really is not much between them, expect for maybe two performances in the Champions League semi-final last season. If it had gone the other way and United had of progressed would Kaka be runner up and Ronaldo in top spot?
Milan finished last season a below standards fourth, after being involved in the match fixing scandal that rocked Italian football last season. They were already out of the title race prior to the meeting with United at Old Trafford and could afford to rest a number (well all) of their players. It was the same in the other semi-final for Liverpool against Chelsea – with Liverpool having nothing to play for other than the Champions League (although they weren’t deducted points at the start of the campaign).
Milan this season aren’t fairing any better compared to United who are at present 3rd behind Chelsea and Arsenal. So what does Kaka have that Ronaldo doesn’t to make him come out on top for this award? He has three years on Ronaldo, a bag full of Champions League experience (and performances for that matter) and he came out on top of the duel between the two in the Champions League semi-final. So it is fair to assume that this contest was decided in the first week of May when United went down 3-0 at the San Siro. We literally didn’t turn up and to combine this with the comical defending of ex United left back Gabriel Heinze and current left back Patrice Evra, we didn’t deserve to go through to Greece.
There is no doubt in my mind that Ronaldo will win this award over the course of what I believe will be an illustrious career. But more importantly I believe he will win the European Cup with United that will catapult him to the Ballon d’Or.