What’s the difference between Eric Cantona and Cristiano Ronaldo?
Cantona is a legend with Manchester United fans and Ronaldo is not.
This got me thinking.
What is that magical indefinable quality that some players have that makes them a legend with the fans whilst others, who may be better players, do not achieve legend status?
George Best, Eric Cantona, Ryan Giggs, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are all legends as far as Manchester United fans are concerned.
Cristiano Ronaldo is widely regarded as a brilliant player and was recently awarded the World’s Best Player award. He is better footballer than many in the list above. And yet he is not considered a legend.
My own theory?
Well if we look at the list of legends I think these players were able to bridge the massive gap that exists between stardom and the ordinary person.
- Somehow George Best seemed the sort of man we could sit quietly and have a chat about ordinary stuff.
- With Roy Keane and Bryan Robson we knew they would run through a brick wall for the team, the club and the fans.
- Ryan Giggs is a self deprecating genius who is clearly in love with the club and shows rare loyalty in these days of “money talks.”
- Eric Cantona was simply a genius who got inside the hearts and minds of Manchester United fans because of who he was and how he inspired the players around him. He was also the sort you would want beside you in the trenches when the going gets tough.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was always the boy next door. He appeared humble in everything he did and showed terrific loyalty to the manager and the club.
Ronaldo was undoubtedly one of the greatest players ever to have worn the famous red shirt of Manchester United and I wish him well in his new career with Real Madrid. But he will never be a true legend at Old Trafford with the fans. He was far too self-obsessed – he was ‘distant’ from the fans and never bridged that massive gap between the ordinary person and the superstar.
Nevertheless good luck in Madrid Cristiano and thanks for all you did for us at Manchester United.