How Many Times Ronaldo Got To World Cup FIFA World Cup – Is Wayne Rooney the World’s Best Player?

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FIFA World Cup – Is Wayne Rooney the World’s Best Player?

Participating in the Debate

Ahead of the FIFA World Cup, there is an ongoing debate about who the world’s best player is. Argentina’s Messi is among the most named. There are also those who root for Portugal’s Christiano Ronaldo. Recently, Carlos Tevez, the Manchester City and Argentina striker and Rooney’s former team-mate at Man United, caused a stir when he said that Rooney is the best he has ever played against or with. In fact, Tevez categorically stated that Rooney is better than his Argentinian teammate, Messi, as well as Portuguese star striker, Christiano Ronaldo.

A person

At 25, Rooney has over a hundred Premier League games and 50 plus England caps. Appearing for Everton, against Arsenal, in his first Premier League appearance, Rooney established a record – since broken – as the youngest ever to play in the EPL. His goal scored in that match against defending champions Arsenal ended Arsenal’s 30-match unbeaten run. It also made Rooney the youngest ever player to score a goal in the EPL (this record has also since been broken).

Rooney became the youngest player to be capped for England – another record, since erased – when he played in a friendly against Australia in 2003. He became the youngest England player to score an international goal at Euro 2004. Rooney announced his arrival in tournament action, with a sensational display that ended tragically in the quarter-final against Portugal when he was injured and forced off the pitch.

Burning a trail

Rooney has spent eight years in football and has eight trophies to highlight his presence in the football arena, including 3 Premier League titles and one each in the UEFA Champions League, Community Shield and Champions Cup. The icing on the cake was the first FIFA Club World Cup in 2008.

He is not short of endorsements and has won countless individual awards, capped by the 2010 PFA Players’ Player of the Year award, which he was awarded in April 2010.

Ability to score goals

Statistics do not often tell the whole truth, but they usually give broad indications of any existing trend. In Rooney’s case, the trend, if we can call it that, has been overwhelming. Over 145 goals, from around 360 games in club football, indicate a prolific goalscoring ability. Rooney’s strike rate has only improved in internationals, where his 55 caps (as at January 2010) have resulted in 25 goals.

Comparison with other Star Strikers

At the beginning of this article I talked about Messi and Christiano Ronaldo being preferred over Rooney, by many, as the best player in the world. How does Rooney’s goalscoring compare to these strikers? In January 2010, Rooney had 25 goals from 55 international matches. Messi has 13 goals from 41 games; Christiano Ronaldo has 22 from 67. Going further afield, Brazil’s Kaka has 26 from 73 and Spain’s Xavi (player of the tournament at Euro 2008) has 8 from 82 caps. Spain’s Fernando Torres, just a year older than Rooney and who, like the England striker, has represented his country since 2003, has 23 from 71.

Harm threat

Injury was Rooney’s bane in both the Euro 2004 and FIFA World Cup 2006 campaigns. Coincidentally, both campaigns ended in the quarter-finals and against the same team, Portugal, and by way of penalties. While Rooney sustained an injury during the quarter-finals of Euro 2004, at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, he entered the tournament with an injury and the England team management set up a special oxygen tent to help Rooney recover in time for action. Earlier, in March this year, Rooney twisted his ankle during the EPL. He was back in action, a few weeks later, in the Champions League, where the injury recurred. All England fans will be praying for Rooney’s fitness at this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Partnerships

A player alone cannot deliver victory. Where his rivals have scored above Rooney is in the quality of support they have received from other players in their respective teams. For example, Xavi owed much of his success at Euro 2008 to the support he received from teammates Torres and Villa.

How effective Rooney is at the 2010 FIFA World Cup will largely depend on how well he is supported in the box by the likes of Gerrard, Crouch and Defoe.

Great shape

Rooney has been in fantastic form throughout the current season. His 34 goals from 44 games for Man U tell their own story. Gary Lineker, himself an accomplished former England striker, claims England cannot win without Rooney. Alan Shearer, another ex-England forward, recommends a 4-5-1 formation with Rooney leading the attack alone, a strategy Lineker also supports.

For England to shine at this World Cup, they must treat Rooney like the jewel he is – with extreme care. For Rooney’s part, he needs to keep his head and not fall victim to on-field provocations from rivals, as he so infamously did in the 2006 World Cup quarter-final against Portugal.

Who is the best in the world?

Chelsea boss Ancellotti will not bring any discussion. Rooney is the best, he says. This, coming from a man who has been on the receiving end of Rooney’s genius in the EPL, is a telling endorsement.

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