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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 18:14 GMT 19:14 UK
Wing wizard lights up final

By Alan Hansen
BBC Sport football expert

I think the jury is still out on Cristiano Ronaldo - but there is no doubt he was the star of the FA Cup final.

He played very well in the semi-final against Arsenal, and that seems to have given him a platform on which to build.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Ronaldo's display fired United towards their cup triumph
The main problem with Ronaldo has always been the end product. He has got the tricks and party pieces, we know that, but they're not much good unless there is something at the end of it all.

On Saturday there was.

Now, when he gets to the byline, it seems that the crosses are starting to come thick and fast. And they are of a good quality.

We still have to remember, of course, that the lad is only 19 years of age.

Considering that, you have to say he has got massive talent.

His feet are mesmerising at times, and if he can couple that with some consistently good crossing, the future looks frightening.

Yet just because he is young, it does not mean he will definitely improve with age.

The argument has been would you rather be playing with him or against him?

I think the jury is still out on that, but a few more performances like the one he produced in the Millennium Stadium will make that question much easier to answer.

It was a professional performance all round by United.

When you are red-hot favourites, you have to play well and win well - but they did that.

They controlled the ball and controlled the game and won easily in the end.

And what that does is give them a crucial little bit of optimism.

Normally, at this time of the season, you do not have to talk about United and optimism - but by their standards, this has been a poor season.

They needed a bit of a lift, and there is no better way to do this than to get your hands on a bit of silverware.





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