To wear the famous number seven at Manchester United takes a special breed. Never before has “just a number” held such significance as the number seven does at Old Trafford, and whether it be George Best to Eric Cantona, you have to be made of stern stuff to carry what is seen as a massive responsibility on your back. In recent seasons the bid to find someone worthy of adorning the famous digit has fallen to the wayside; Antonio Valencia, Michael Owen, Angel Di Maria and currently Memphis have all tried and thus far failed to live up to the hype. But Rio Ferdinand has started an interesting debate, who’s the best out of the last two greats to wear the shirt?
Speaking to his magazine ‘Five’s YouTube channel, the former United centre-half tackled the question of who’s better, Beckham or Ronaldo. And the Daily Mirror report his findings were inconclusive, declining to outright answer the question of which icon was the better player. So it has got me thinking, who was better? Both set the world alight in different ways during my lifetime and having seen both live and in the flesh, I can personally relate to them more so than Eric Cantona and certainly George Best. However, unlike Rio Ferdinand, I believe I have my answer. For me, David Beckham edges it.
How can I say this? Well, it is entirely a matter of opinion as with most things football. And where on a global scale Ronaldo has achieved more personal accolades than Beckham, what the Englishman did for both Manchester United and football gives him the edge. Beckham was never the most skilful player on the park, he wouldn’t go on many jinking runs or power through defences using sheer brute force, but what Beckham had was the aura that if it weren’t him scoring he would absolutely lay it on a plate for a team-mate. He has his moment of history at United, scoring in the final Premier League game and setting up the two goals in the Champions League final as the treble was clinched. Plus there were his free kicks, and nothing beats the excitement of seeing him lining one up.
Of course, it isn’t a cut and dry argument. Cristiano Ronaldo grew at Old Trafford into a simply sumptuous player in every sense of the word. He was unpredictable, magical and the catalyst of regaining regular winning form coupled with devastating football. Ronaldo was involved with possibly the best side seen at Old Trafford since the Busby Babes. But he left before his prime before fans could bask in his full arsenal. He had only just begun to realise the mounds of potential he had whilst in Manchester and only hit the peak of his powers whilst in Madrid. This clinches it for me.
Off the pitch, both are excellent ambassadors for the game. Involved in charities worldwide and seemingly just lovely human beings. They are both icons in style, also. Who didn’t have the latest Beckham haircut when they were young? And what child now doesn’t attempt to mimic the Ronaldo celebration after scoring? (Admittedly the youngsters these days have it much easier, I cringe at the thought of my middle parting and mohawk, but wouldn’t be all too bashful of a cheesy goal celebration).
So in conclusion, I believe the better of the two to be David Beckham. But it isn’t an easy choice to make by a long way. And you will most likely disagree with me, and with better reasons than the ones I have given in favour of the former England captain. But it is all opinion and both players have made me feel blessed for having the opportunity to see them play in the flesh. It’s some debate to be having when you think about it.
Who do you choose? David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo?
Which @ManUtd wide man was better? David Beckham or Cristiano Ronaldo?
— MUFC Latest News (@MUFCLatestnews) June 28, 2016