Euro 2016: Player Battle - Cristiano Ronaldo vs Kevin Wimmer
An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the two players
Portugal did not enjoy the best of opening games in the UEFA Euros. Cristiano Ronaldo was left frustrated and let some of the frustration boil over making controversial comments on the Iceland team.
It wasn’t the smartest thing to do and it put him under the media microscope. Pundits and fans alike have condemned his comments. But if there is anything the Portuguese is god at it is using this negativity to inspire him
Iceland were arguably the easiest team in the group and Portugal will have it a lot tougher against Austria who are also coming off a loss. This will make them harder to beat as two losses will eliminate them from the competition.
Without a doubt, Ronaldo is still their best player and if he does not fire then Portugal will have problems. Let’s look at how the Real Madrid star stacks up against Austrian defender Kevin Wimmer
Ronaldo was played as a forward against Iceland along with Nani in a 4-4-2 system employed by their coach. While Nani scored Ronaldo struggled to adapt to the striker position. The role is not completely unknown to him but is it his best position?
Ronaldo filled in as a striker on certain occasions for Real Madrid when Karim Benzema was unavailable for selection but it is quite clear he is at his prolific best when he plays on the left wing.
The 31-year-old banged in 58 goals in his 128 appearances in all competitions in quite a phenomenal season as he won the UEFA Champions League for the second time in his Los Blancos career.
Unfortunately, he missed out on the European Golden Shoe and the Pichichi award to one Luis Suarez who was unstoppable for Barcelona last season. Playing Eder up front and allowing Ronaldo to play in his regular position might be the way to go in today’s match
Free Kicks and one-on-ones
Cristiano Ronaldo has a made a name for himself when it comes to free kicks. His mastery over the knuckleball technique is admirable but over the past couple of years you could say he hasn’t been scoring as many as he used to in his earlier days.
But when given the opportunity to hit one you can never count him out, doing that would be a foolish mistake. Austria will be wise not to concede free kicks and this is where Kevin Wimmer’s Premier League experience comes in.
Wimmer filled in for Jan Vertonghen and he did fine job of it as well. Being a very physical league Wimmer will know how to deal with Ronaldo’s strength but his anticipation is what will be tested the most against the Portuguese captain.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Wimmer has a positional sense in his play. The Austrian is not big on the close man to man marking and uses his interceptive positioning to deal with the danger of the opposition . Wimmer has not faced players of the calibre of Ronaldo before so it will be interesting to see if his English football experience will be enough to stop him.
Ronaldo does not have too many weaknesses to his game. His strength, pace and ability on the ball is almost unmatched. He is also very good in the air and is a big danger from corners. Wimmer will have to remain switched on at all times when he is facing this footballing machine running at him.
The only genuine weakness you could say is the Portugues’s tendency to go down a bit easily at times. Ronaldo also prefers to get on the end of crosses than be the one providing them. The 31-year-old is better at driving into the box and delivering a low ball across the face than pumping it in from the wide areas, so the key might be to close him down before he gets the chance to run at you.
Overall it should be a fun contest to watch. Wimmer obviously won’t be able to keep him quiet on his own and will have help from his fellow defenders but he is arguably their most important in that back line.
Ronaldo will be pumped for this game after being frustrated against Iceland. He has bounced back from worse several times before and you can expect he will be out for redemption against Austria.