The world thinks Cristiano Ronaldo set a record; now there’s a debate on Asamoah Gyan & AFCON's relevance
When Cristiano Ronaldo scored against Spain at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, news broke that the Portugal captain was the first player to score in 8 consecutive major tournaments. No! Ghana's Asamoah Gyan has that record and it's 9 consecutive major tournaments.
Just like Pele’s 1000 goals, there was no social media, however, the feat is popularly accepted by many who love the beautiful game.
The idea of breaking and setting records does not have sole proprietorship when it comes to winning an argument in football. But it does help. When the going gets tough, people typically switch from the quantitative ‘how many goals?’ jargon to the qualitative ‘what’s his/her impact on the team?’.
So, has been the case for the most debate-igniting footballers of our time; Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Records, however, have played a major role in these debates.
When Cristiano Ronaldo put three goals past arguably the best goalkeeper in world football at the 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia when Portugal took on Spain, there was bound to be a record-shaming, record-touting, record-subbing in the football community.
Cristiano Ronaldo had done it again and normally the shading target is Argentina’s very own Lionel Messi.
Just that this time, there was an unfamiliar foe, Ghana Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan.
Not unfamiliar in the sense of performing on the big stage. No! Asamoah Gyan is Africa’s leading top scorer at a FIFA World Cup tournament. And that counts.
But unfamiliar when it comes to a debate involving Cristiano Ronaldo. Messi has that accolade.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s three goals against Spain in Portugal’s opening 2018 World Cup game has sparked a debate in world football, with Africa in the spotlight.
The commentator in the game said Ronaldo was the first player to have scored in eight consecutive major football tournaments.
Since the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has not played in eight FIFA World Cup tournaments, the ‘major football tournaments’ were obviously not limited to the World Cup.
What are the major football tournaments for national teams then?
International competitions with regards to major football tournaments are loosely grouped in three; the world, continental by confederation and Asia (the largest continent).
The World part of the categorization has the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Confederations Cup with the Continental by Confederation having the UEFA European Football Championship, CAF Africa Cup of Nations, CONMEBOL Copa America and CONCACAF Gold Cup. Asia has Asian Cup.
News that the African Cup of Nations qualifies as a major tournament sets the tone for a social media war with regards to what record reporters think Cristiano Ronaldo might have set.
For clarity, the record proposed indicates Cristiano Ronaldo is the first man to score in eight consecutive major tournaments.
The CNN wrote in their report:
"It should come as no surprise that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner, scorer of 43 goals for Real Madrid this season and widely regarded as one of the greatest to have played the game, etched his name into the history books in the process -- becoming the first man to score in eight consecutive major tournaments and only the fourth to score in four separate World Cups."
No. Ronaldo is not if Gyan’s records are anything to go by.
Asamoah Gyan does one better having scored in NINE consecutive major tournaments for his country.
The Black Stars captain scored at the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament in Germany, the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations in Ghana, the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, the 2010 FIFA World Cup tournament in South Africa, the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations in Equatorial Guinea and the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon.
That makes it nine in all for Ghana’s prolific striker.
The argument extends to the fact the Africa Cup of Nations is played at a two-year interval and that could be the reach of Ronaldo’s feat. But rules are rules.
And once FIFA recognizes the time-space of Africa’s top international tournament, its relevance cannot be undermined.
Asamoah Gyan has been criticized for a lot of things and denied many accolades he deserves. The leader of Ghana’s senior national team who is a great goal scorer has sometimes not had his full praise due to the location he scores his goals.
But time and time again, Gyan has proven that he can rub shoulders with the game’s biggest scorers. He has done it at the highest stage of international football; the FIFA World Cup.
So, don’t take this one from him because you lack the instinctive football decency to recognize the Africa Cup of Nations as a major football tournament.
Asamoah Gyan was the first player to score in eight consecutive major international tournaments. He's done nine now. Fact.
However, in football arguments, whatever makes you look good is what is highlighted upon. We could see a twist in what has already been said just to keep Cristiano Ronaldo looking good in the eyes of the football world.
Don’t be surprised if you see ‘Cristiano Ronaldo is the first Ballon d'Or winner to score in eight consecutive major tournaments’.
Well, Gyan has never won the Ballon D’Or and this shade gets to Lionel Messi the more. The usual norm we’re used to.
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