Player v. Player: Ronaldo v. Robben

Khalid KhanCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2009

DUBLIN, IRELAND - JULY 20:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid limbers up during the Pre Season Friendly between Shamrock Rovers and Real Madrid at Tallaght Stadium on July 20, 2009 in Dublin, Ireland.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

At first sight one wonders if Cristiano Ronaldo could be compared with Arjen Robben in terms of talent and winger position being opposite side of the field. However, it is very much relevant both individually and collectively as part of the team.

Ronaldo is an obvious stand-out of the two as he has achieved so much in such a short span of time and at such a young age. Now he is the world's most expensive player at €94 million fee with allegedly a buy-out clause of €1 billion.

Ronaldo is also the first ever FIFA world player of the year in the history of English Premier League. Noted for his powerful surges, scorching pace, stunning skills, quick feet, free kicks, trickery of dummies that include step-overs to defeat best of defenders while earning time and space to create his magic, are among his top assets.

If Ronaldo settles at Real Madrid without taking much time, continues his form from Manchester United and remains injury free then he will be the best player for Real Madrid not only in the coming season but for the foreseeable future.

Arjen Robben, playing on the left wing, is one of the most exciting players in the world to watch. The flying winger has no lack of talent and is able to compete with the best of the lot.

Robben has the necessary skills to become the best winger in the world but injuries have hampered his progress and he missed out on many accolades that he could have earned by now. His reputation has been hurt and this has had a bad impact on his career.

How common a sight it is to see Robben make a very fast dash that takes him deep into the opponent’s half only to see bad judgment let down his creativity and his team. Robben needs to curtail his goalscoring greed, remain injury-free and focus all his energies on his positive points, directing assists, timing his runs and crossing to his forwards.

Perhaps, it is easy to understand the temptation in that goalscorers tend to get more popularity, pay, and high media profile that come with it.

Comparing Robben to another winger, Franck Ribery, he doesn’t score that many goals but that does not make his effectiveness, productivity and importance to the Bayern Munich any less. Robben just needs to take that leaf (and couple of others for good measure) out of Ribery’s playbook.

As the season begins, it will be interesting to observe which wing is more effective than the other offensively and produces more goals and assists. For that Ronaldo, on the right wing and probably in a forward position, is already a hands-down favorite but Robben on the left can be equally good a workhorse.

Robben will never score more goals than Ronaldo, though if he learns his lessons well then this cannot stop him from becoming one of the, if not THE, best wingers in the world.