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Simplified Ronaldo is world class, says Houllier
June 08, 2008 18:40 IST
The Portugal winger, still only 23, got off to an encouraging start in his third major tournament on Saturday, helping his team beat Turkey 2-0 and going close to scoring when he struck a post with a free kick.
He topped a remarkable season for Manchester United [Images] by scoring in their Champions League final win over Chelsea -- his 42nd club goal of a season that earned him double player of the year awards for a second consecutive season.
Yet he arrived for Euro 2008 with some critics claiming he had yet to prove himself on the big stage.
Houllier, however, who will analyse the tournament as part of UEFA's technical team, was full of admiration.
"In 2004 he was a very young player, now he has acquired experience through the Champions League and Premier League," the former France [Images] manager told a news conference on Sunday.
"He looked sometimes as if he was overdoing it but it looks now as if he has simplified his game.
"The most difficult thing in football is to keep things simple and it seems that with maturity he's learned to do that and has become more and more effective for his team.
"He can beat players, he can run, he can make goals he can score. You have international players, then world class player and he definitely belongs among them."
Houllier, who said the European Championship was as good as the World Cup at the last-16 stage, expected Ronaldo to be among the key players.
"I think this tournament will be played at a high level," he said. "There are a lot of top-class players and I personally think that the strikers will play a big part."
Houllier and his technical colleagues will decide the man of the match, player of the tournament and team of the tournament as well as analysing tactical trends.
"We will try to consider how effective a player has been," he said. "Sometimes you can have spectacular players whose end product is not as good as could be expected so we make sure that the player we choose makes a very effective, often decisive, contribution."
Looking back at Greece's success four years ago, Houllier said: "They showed that if you have a good team spirit and good freshness, because I think freshness is important in these tournaments, then you can win and I think that's refreshing for the whole of football.
"It looked as if it was not a system that is used in many clubs but it worked and that is good. There is no universal football truth."
Complete Coverage: Euro 2008