Cristiano Ronaldo News

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Marking Ronaldo is a tall order

DEREK GEARY has two important tasks on his to-do list today.

First, one of the smallest players in the Premiership must battle towering inferno Cristiano Ronaldo.

And then the Sheffield United defender needs to get Paul Scholes’ autograph for his dad.

Manchester United are coming to Bramall Lane and the smile has not left Geary’s face all week.

He admits: “If I play I’ll be up against Ronaldo. Bloody hell it doesn’t get any easier, does it?”

Last week it was Bolton maverick El-Hadji Diouf, a tricky customer certainly. But Ronaldo is currently occupying a different level in the footballing stratosphere.

And he is SEVEN inches taller than Irishman Geary — who insists that size does not necessarily matter.

Geary, 26, said: “When I was growing up in Dublin scouts looked at my height as a disadvantage but I don’t think it is.

“I’m only 5ft 6in tall but I have a decent spring in me. I don’t think I get beaten much in the air.

“People will look at me and target me but it makes me more determined. I do a lot of weights and my pace gets me out of trouble.

“But Ronaldo will be the ultimate test. I think I’ve done all right this season and in the past I played against Arsenal in the cup and I did all right against Jose Reyes.

“I’m comfortable in my ability to do well but Ronaldo is probably playing the best football of all the United players at the moment.”

Geary, a huge Liverpool supporter, would love to put a dent into United’s title charge today.

But afterwards he will probably have to go cap in hand to Scholes and request a scribble.

Geary revealed: “My dad, Peter, is a Manchester United fan so he will be over. I’m sure he will be cheering me on! But he is a big fan of Paul Scholes so he will probably be wanting me to get his autograph . . . I think I’ll wait until after the game!”

Two years ago, Geary was at Stockport — or Stockport Reserves if you listen to boss Neil Warnock — and the Premiership was a million miles away.

But Warnock decided to splash out £25,000 for a player who started his career across the city at Wednesday.

And now Geary, who grew up in a rough area of Dublin, is about to

rub shoulders with £12.5million Ronaldo — raised in the temperate climes of Madeira.

The 6ft 1in Portuguese winger was always destined to be a footballer. But Geary’s future was not quite so mapped out.

He said: “All I wanted to be was a footballer. I wasn’t the best at school and I was probably out of school more than I was in it but I only missed school to play football.

“All I thought about every day was playing football and that’s what I did on the streets of Dublin.

“I grew up on the outskirts of Dublin. It’s known as a rough place but I loved it — I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

“I was lucky. My manager at my club in Ireland was a scout for Wednesday and he believed in me.

“I went on to play 100 games for Wednesday and if someone had told me that I’d end up playing for the other Sheffield club in the Premiership I would not have believed them. I will be nervous on Saturday — it’s a big game and against the best team in England. But then I get nervous in a reserve match!”

The Blades have already surprised pundits with their results this season and last weekend hit back from 2-0 down against Bolton to force a draw.

No one expects anything other than defeat today — well no one outside the Blades dressing room.

Geary said: “It would be brilliant to get the result. And as a Liverpool fan it would be nice to get one over Manchester United.

“It did take us time to adjust but now we can actually believe we can cope against these great players and we can really go up the table.

“The best thing about our squad is we came up together. A lot of the players here have never played in the Premiership and we all want to prove we can play.

“It’s like a dream come true at the moment. A lot of my friends are coming over from Ireland and they are seeing me on TV because of the coverage the Premiership gets.”

The big-time is unlikely to go to Geary’s head, though.

He is in the middle of reading Paul McGrath’s autobiography ‘Back from the Brink’.

Geary revealed: “My biggest hero was Paul McGrath. He is a legend. But when you read his book he did go shooting off at times between drink and his family problems.

“He was brought up on the hard streets of Dublin which I can relate to. If any young lad could read that book it would explain to them what not to do.

“But I’d love to be half the player he was.”

From Stockport reserves to the Premiership is no bad boast either.,,2002390000-2006530573,00.html


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