It's Official, Ronaldo Europe's Best

In an award presentation with about as much drama as when 'Titanic' won the Best Picture Oscar in 1998 (even though 'L.A. Confidential' is the far superior film), Manchester United attacker Cristiano Ronaldo won the Ballon d'Or awarded by France Football magazine for the best player in Europe. Ronaldo tallied 446, nearly doubling second-place finisher Lionel Messi.

Unlike many postseason awards, there's little -- if any debate -- on Ronaldo's merits. You might not like his pretty boy routine, but his game was next to flawless during the 2007-08 season, a season that saw him lead Manchester United to both the Premier League and UEFA Champions League crowns.

It might be trite to say, but this was really Ronaldo's world and the rest of us were just living in it. This was as good a season as luminaries like Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods. In fact, you could say it was the most impressive athletic body of work by anyone on the planet save for Michael Phelps, but that was over the course of a week, not a year.

Across all competitions Ronaldo featured 49 times and scored an astounding 42 goals. Not too shabby for a guy that rarely played as an out-and-out striker. The goal that stands out to be was an amazing freekick against Portsmouth where he nearly made Sir Isaac Newton turn over in his grave, as it defied the laws of physics. (Video after the jump.)

The only blemish on Ronaldo's resume was a rather indifferent showing with Portugal at the European Championships in June. He was nowhere to be found when Germany knocked of Portugal in the quarterfinals, but that might have been the only time Ronaldo failed to show up.

The scariest thought is that at 23 years old, is the best yet to come for Ronaldo? Or will he -- like so many soccer stars -- get wrapped up in the party lifestyle and begin a slow, steady decline along with the inevitable weight gain? As long as he's under the tutelage of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United you'd think Ronaldo should continue to excel. If he ever ends up moving to Real Madrid, well, then all bets are off.

It's Official, Ronaldo Europe's Best originally appeared on Soccer FanHouse on Tue, 02 Dec 2008 14:07:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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