WORLD CUP : PLAYER TO WATCH
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
Manchester United broke the world record transfer fee for a teenager when they paid Sporting Lisbon £12.24m for the youngster in August 2003 — handing the then 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo a five-year deal. Ronaldo is quick to learn and he has worked hard on that part of his game. His outstanding form led Portugal into the EURO 2004 final. Having been short-listed for the FIFA World Player of the Year accolade for two years running, Ronaldo received special recognition by fans worldwide who voted him their Young Player of the Year at the FIFPro awards in 2005. Ronaldo guided Portugal to the top of their qualifying group for Germany 2006.
Nuno Gomes (Portugal)
A striker who has taken the name of Porto’s 1980s star Fernando Gomes, Nuno Gomes is enjoying one of his best seasons ever, scoring at a rate of around a goal every two matches for Benfica. He first came to international attention at Euro 2000, where he scored four goals in Portugal’s run to the semis. However, he incurred seven-month ban after the melee at the end of that semi-final defeat by France. At Euro 2004, his best moment was scoring the winner against Spain. He played for only 25 minutes during Portugal’s 2002 World Cup, and represented his country at the 1995 FIFA World Youth Cha-mpionship and the 1996 Olympic Games.