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Opinion: Cristiano Ronaldo showed Harry Kane how to reach the next level

On the 12th of March Tottenham faced Manchester United in a crucial game for both teams’ top-four hopes.

The stage was stolen by a familiar figure, Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the 59th hat trick of his career. The Portuguese grabbed a dejected United side by the scruff of the neck and dragged them through the game to win his side a vital three points.

Having the ability to practically win his team the game has become a routine for Ronaldo. His spectacular ability and frequency of scoring important goals is a key aspect of what makes him such an incredible player and one of, if not the world’s best-ever footballer.

Harry Kane did get his name on the score-sheet, but he didn’t have the same effect upon his team and the game, and it’s possibly one of the only things that currently separates the England captain from the world’s best.

It’s often been a criticism of Kane that he struggles to be the difference in the most important games, the striker hasn’t been short of opportunities too as he failed to contribute in two League Cup finals and a Champions League final.

He has however scored in a FA Cup semi-final, despite Spurs losing the game 4-2 at Wembley and he did score the winning goal in the EURO’s Semi-Finals, although the goal was from a rebound of a penalty he had saved.

Clearly, Kane has shown glimpses of being the hero in certain important fixtures, but he hasn’t done it on Ronaldo’s level of fixtures and frequency.

The legendary Portuguese striker has scored extremely important goals for United this season, in the Champions League especially, as ‘CR7’ scored two late winners and a late equaliser in the group stages of the European competition to keep the Red Devils European dreams alive.

Kane’s most glaring example of playing on Ronaldo’s robotic level has been against United’s rivals, Manchester City.

Kane dragged Tottenham through the game in Ronaldo style, with his level of performance at the focal point of the team setting the tone for the other players throughout the side.

His incredible performance was made meaningful due to him also scoring two important goals in the game, with his second being a late winner, making it more prominent in the memory of the media and watchers of the game, as well as raising morale and belief in the squad through his own individual performance.

These incredible performances Kane has been putting in are slowly becoming more frequent now, with the latest edition being Harry Kane’s star performance against London rivals West Ham, the game perfectly epitomizes the incredible ability and mind-boggling potential of Kane.

The Tottenham number 10 dictated play and was at the heart of all three of Tottenham’s goals, forcing Zouma to bundle the ball into his own net for the opener and then routinely linking up with teammate Heung Min Son for the last two goals.

Kane’s passing ability is currently beyond belief as he breaks the mould of the ‘traditional’ striker, with Harry often being the man to kickstart Tottenham’s attacking moves and even being Spurs’ most creative player.

Kane showcased this in the game against the Hammers, however, it showed how the England striker still has space for improvement to become one of, if not, the best player in the world.

The example came at the 79th minute, the ball dropped to Kane on the penalty spot; giving him the chance to put the game beyond doubt but Kane unusually failed to convert, and it left West Ham with room to get back into the game.

Although, poetically, Kane reminded everyone of his talent by flicking on a header in the last moments of normal time, setting up Son who buried his chance and put the game to bed and ensured Tottenham would be the team walking away with an important three points.

It meant that Son was the one to steal the headlines and the hero of the game; despite Kane pulling the strings and being crucial to Tottenham’s win, he wasn’t receiving the plaudits or recognition as he wasn’t scoring the vital goals like Ronaldo did against Spurs.

It also saw Heung Min Son be the big moment player for Tottenham again, such as he was against Manchester City in the Champions League in 2019, in both legs of the tie.

That is ultimately the difference right now between Kane and the world’s best. Every manager who has worked with the striker seems to adore him and his ability to help the team, with his impact on Tottenham going from strength to strength.

This is especially the case this season and the last, with Kane’s tendency to drop deeper and utilise his incredible passing abilities to set up Tottenham’s goals, as well as finishing them off.

Kane just needs to start being the man for Tottenham, especially with the top four race coming to the final stages. Kane will have chances to make himself the player of the moment in crunch games against Arsenal and Liverpool.

If he scores the important goals in important moments, emulating Ronaldo’s ability to do so, then it will perhaps see the Tottenham forward rise higher than 23rd in the Ballon d’Or rankings (VAVEL), where he finished in 2021, despite earning the Premier League Golden boot and Golden Playmaker award.

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