Klose deserves credit for World Cup feat - but Ronaldo is still king


Congratulations to Germany striker Miroslav Klose but Ronaldo still deserves more praise.

The Germany striker is now joint top-scorer in World Cup history - a feat that should be applauded by all who watch football.

The veteran forward scored almost instantly upon his arrival against Ghana on Saturday evening to net his 15th strike on football's biggest stage, and the 36-year-old is now equal with Brazil's legendary striker Ronaldo.

However, as impressive as Klose's achievement is, there was an unshakeable feeling that when he stooped to turn Per Mertesacker's header into the bottom corner on 72 minutes, a little bit of football's brilliantly illuminating allure dulled somewhat.

Football does not always give us the fairy tale ending, but for Ronaldo - who is known as 'The Phenomenon' in his homeland - to stand alone as the highest-scoring player in World Cup history just felt fitting.

This was a player who took to the pitch with a paintbrush in one hand and a sniper rifle in the other - a deadly marksman who played the game with the carefree nature of someone having a kickabout on Copacabana beach.

Throughout his glorious 18-year career, Ronaldo made countless goalkeepers look like amateurs with his ability to perform his trademark step-overs in one-on-one situations.

Lesser strikers could never even contemplate such an imaginative approach to goalscoring, but Ronaldo was effortless in his execution, and his World Cup record cemented his place as the greatest striker of all time.

His two-goal salvo against Germany in the 2002 final obliterated the painful memories of the traumatic conclusion of the 1998 tournament when Ronaldo took to the field only hours after reportedly suffering late-night seizures in his hotel room.

The 2002 final was redemption for the Brazilian and he finally topped the scoring charts at the World Cup four years later when he netted against Ghana - with a step-over round the goalkeeper no less!

Klose's achievement is a personal triumph of human endeavour and he should rightly be applauded for his astronomical feat.

No one has ever placed the German alongside the greats of the game, and four years at Bayern Munich aside, his club honours amount to one Coppa Italia with Lazio in 2013.

His longevity, dedication and professionalism are second to none. Klose had made one more appearance than Ronaldo's 19, but has a better goals per minute ratio, with 101 passing between his 15 goals compared to his rival's 108.

The Brazilian legend had 67 shots at goal, but the instinctive Klose has netted his with 51 attempts, although Ronaldo's four assists see him top his German counterpart, who has three.

Pragmatists will say a goal is a goal, and they are of course correct, but as Klose celebrated his record-equalling tap-in with a miscued version of his trademark somersault celebration, champions of the beautiful game shifted uneasily in their seat.

Klose can soak up the adulation safe in the knowledge that he could yet even take the title outright, but it is the story of Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima that still reminds us why we love the game.

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