Kevin Mirallas: Everton's Very Own Cristiano Ronaldo
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Comparing any player to Cristiano Ronaldo is a dangerous game.
Real Madrid's majestic winger-cum-striker is a unique footballer. Tall, strong and physical. Frighteningly quick and skillful. Brilliant in the air and even better with the ball at his feet.
CR7 is a phenomenon. And arguably the greatest player in the world.
So to liken Everton's summer signing Kevin Mirallas to the 2008 Ballon D'Or winner would seem a little foolish, on paper anyway.
The Belgium international, lured to Goodison Park from Greek side Olympiacos in August, was a relative unknown when first linked with a Premier League move by the English press.
But after 10 games of the 2012/13 season, Mirallas' scintillating performances in royal blue already have opposing fans looking on in envy.
While he might not be a 50 goal a season man like Ronaldo, Mirallas has been quick to exhibit many of the eye-catching qualities which made the Portuguese such a hit at Old Trafford.
Pace, particularly in wide areas, is something Everton have lacked in recent years. Not anymore.
Mirallas is not only blessed with speed, but the confidence to take on, and more often than not, beat his opponents. His direct running and desire to find space has contributed hugely to Everton's dynamic style in the early stages of this season.
And when sheer pace isn't enough, the former Lille midfielder isn't afraid to turn on the style with flicks, tricks and turns to rival those of Los Blancos talisman Ronaldo.
Two goals on his full debut, albeit a Capital One Cup tie against League One side Leyton Orient, gave us a glimpse of what Mirallas is capable of in front of goal. But since then he's scored just once—the winner away at Swansea in the Premier League.
A glaring miss away at Fulham on Saturday was further proof that he needs to recapture the eye-for-goal he showed in the Greek Super League last season, where he found the net 20 times in just 25 games, if he's to rival Cristiano's goalscoring exploits.
But back to the positives. Mirallas is an accomplished attacker, capable of playing on either wing and through the middle as both an attacking midfielder and striker, much like Jose Mourinho's star man.
In a small squad like Everton's, Mirallas' versatility will be key, especially when injuries and suspensions hit hard later in the season. He's already been utilised in a number of positions by David Moyes and, like Ronaldo, he's shown a remarkable ability to adapt and flourish wherever he is on the pitch.
His creativity hasn't been bad either. With five assists to his name from only nine starts in all competitions, the £5.3 million signing has quickly become a key component of The Toffees' attacking lineup.
Although his value hasn't quite rocketed to the record £80 million fee paid by Real for Ronaldo's services in 2009, it's clear that Moyes has bagged himself yet another bargain in the shape of Mirallas.
A player who, given time, looks certain to command a much greater reputation—and price-tag—in the years to come.
All hail the Belgian Ronaldo.
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