Rooney - Robin - Ronaldo: The lethal trinity
If rumours flying around the Bernabeu are to be believed, one particular Portuguese is not happy with the proceedings at the club and no, its not “The Special One”. Ronaldo has found the net on almost every occasion he has stepped out in all whites but is still searching for a place in the hearts of the Madridsta. His recent claims about being “unhappy” at the club have alerted the “Oil Men” around the globe, but only few will be capable of matching his price-tag. He, for one, desires to return to the place where he is still loved, a place where he came as a boy and left as a man, a place which is still close to his heart – Old Trafford. Sir Alex has always hailed Ronaldo’s professionalism and dedication for the game and maintains that he is always welcome with open arms to the ‘Theatre of Dreams’. It’s a far fetched dream considering the amount of money involved in such a deal, but which United fan wouldn’t want CR7 turn into a red devil once more?
The thought of assembling the best attacking trio in the form of Rooney, Robin and Ronaldo might just do the trick and tempt Fergie to break his bank to land the unsettled attacker. His price might be unimaginable but his worth can never be questioned! He now looks like a bargain for Madrid when they bought him for £80 million in the summer of 2009 and has grown in stature and worth with every season. He has scored a phenomenal 169 goals in 170 caps for Real. He is playing at his peak for Club and Country and is claimed to be the most complete player in his generation. He is wanted, at the moment, by almost all the rich clubs in Europe but if he insists on coming back to Manchester, he will be my first choice signing in the next window.
Let us once step out of reality and try to comprehend the whole situation based on pure footballing argument. How exactly would the course of the game change when Ronaldo comes back to Manchester United?
Ferguson will then have “Rooney-Robin-Ronaldo” at his disposal and undoubtedly no one is eligible to warm the benches at Old Trafford. Imagine the amount of trouble the defenders would have to face when the three attacking maestros combine together, a thought which instigates fear for the opposition and ignites excitement for the supporters at the same time. All of them are quite flexible in playing positions and can be deployed in multiple formations. Van Persie, at present, has a more central role at United and will work hard to keep his place. His shooting prowess and an eye for goal has seen him become one of the best Strikers in world football. Rooney, on the other hand, can virtually play at any position on the field and his adaptability will be a key to allow others to take their preferred positions. His mature approach to the game has allowed him to assist more goals this term. Ronaldo was deployed as a Right winger in his United days but has taken a forward position now at Madrid. He is best known to make lethal inside runs from the right/left wing and destroy defenses with his sheer pace and dribbling abilities. He can shoot with both his feet and will be a greater threat with his special free-kicks.
Let us look more into the kind of formations Ferguson will prefer when he tries to fit in all three of them in the same team. He will have to manage their talents as well as their egos in such a way that they thrive on their strengths and not hamper each other.
Formation I - ( 4-2-3-1)
In this formation, Van Persie will lead from the front and hold the position at the center of the attack. United in its traditional format will rely on wing play and both wingers will be given different responsibilities. Ronaldo will be seen making more frequent and familiar inside runs from the left wing and Valencia will be responsible for traditional crosses from the far corner of the right wing. Rooney will be responsible for linking up the play between midfield and forward line and support Van Persie with through balls and assists. Ronaldo will be most effective in this role as he will have the freedom to charge inside with pace and treachery. His ability to cross the ball in to the path of RVP will see Persie score more goals within the 12 yard box. Cleverly and Carrick will have to take up more deeper positions in the midfield and might seek Rooney to fall back when United look to hold the other team. In an attacking mood United can be ruthless and puncture the defensive walls from set pieces as well as field play.
Rooney might score more than he would expect as his heading abilities will be utilized effectively with incoming crosses. He will be more involved in the game and his work rate will be tested to the limit. Van Persie will enjoy being the target man and will make the most of the situation. His corners from the right post will also see him assist many goals. Ronaldo might not score more frequently, but when he does it will be a treat to watch like before. His goal tally will mostly be stuffed with spot kicks and set pieces. Scoring less might just act as a catalyst and can get the best out of this Man-Machine. He enjoys scoring goals and will take every opportunity to shoot the ball if he gets a sight of the goal. United as a team will always look to counter attack and approach its wingers to make this job easy. The speed with which both Ronaldo and Valencia can charge ahead will leave the defenders catching their breath which will give them an edge over the opposition in the later half of the game.
Formation II – ( 4-3-3)
This formation will see one more attack minded midfielder, “Shinji Kagawa”, join the action. The midfield has to be more patient and accurate in passing and building possession. Often deployed by teams like Barca and Arsenal this formation deviates from ManU’s traditional wing play. This can be deployed against weaker oppositions or at times when attack qualifies as the best form of defense. Kagawa who is known for his creativity in midfield will perpetuate the run of play and link up effectively with Cleverley and Carrick. All three front men will have to look for openings in the defense and create chances for each other. The Full Backs would need to make forward runs more often when team requires width while attacking.
Persie will still be at center, though any one can take any position in this formation. Rooney will be wide Right Forward and Ronaldo will play at wide Left Forward. It will be a interesting equation as Rooney can switch places with Kagawa and confuse opposition tactics. Carrick will be the anchor man and responsible to pass the ball around. Cleverly will have to switch from attack to defense in the blink of an eye and this will see him grow as a player.
The formation can be modified into a “diamond” any time, relying on the flexibility of all the players. Kagawa , Cleverley, Rooney and Ronaldo can keep the defenders guessing as to what their next move will be! Van Persie will again look to make hay in the confusion and ‘Score When He Wants!”. Ronaldo will be seen on the score sheet more often as he will be playing at his current and favorite position at Madrid. Rooney along with Persie and Ronaldo will look to pounce on every opportunity within shooting range. The goals galore will see all three grab their fair share. The 4-3-3 formation needs more understanding among the players as they look to pass the ball around. Unlike Barcelona, Ferguson will always encourage his team to attack and create frequent openings in the defense. This formation might be a little unorthodox for the Red Devils but its flexibility will suit tactical changes according to the need of the hour.
Whatever the formation be, the fans will always have a treat to watch the game. The stands will fill up just to watch the ‘Lethal Trinity’ line up in familiar red color.
A team always has a player who stands out from others, a main man who can shoulder the responsibility to steer the team ahead in times of misery. Imagine three such players who have done this for their respective teams and now might have the chance to play alongside each other. Such a team will never lack the will power to try the impossible. The amount of energy and motivation in the dressing room will benefit everyone around them. All three have proven their mettle in the world of football and there is no doubt that they have the skills and the composure to support each other in a team game. The rise of the ‘Lethal Trinity” might turn out to be more than a just a fantasy when events unfold. Wait and Watch.