Keeping pace with Ronaldo is a thankless task for most defenders, but there is a midfielder who may just be up to it.
The way he launched his latest Premier League campaign, there could even be reason for believing Mikel Arteta might yet outstrip Manchester United's wing wizard in the race to be acknowledged as this season's supreme entertainer.
Chase is on: Mikel Arteta of Everton avoids Denny Landzaat of Wigan Athletic
For once, the Spanish maestro had no direct involvement in either of Everton's goals, but once more he had a capacity crowd in the palm of his hand and any number of opposing defenders in his pocket.
The styles could scarcely be more different — Ronaldo's blistering pace contrasting with a matador-like ability to wrong-foot an opponent from a standing start — but the effect is the same. Whenever either player is in possession, a matchdefining moment is usually not too far away.
There was almost one on the half-hour at Goodison Park as a weaving run took Arteta past four challenges and was only halted by an ill-advised lunge from Titus Bramble that could easily have cost Wigan a penalty.
Just four minutes earlier, the hapless Bramble had paid for failing to deal with a Tony Hibbert cross as it skimmed off his head for Leon Osman to open the scoring with a looping header beyond Chris Kirkland's reach.
The error-prone former Newcastle defender fared little better in trying to keep out Victor Anichebe's close-range finish in the 75th minute. There was no way back for Wigan, even when substitute Antoine Sibierski reduced the deficit five minutes later.
If there was room for improvement in most areas of an unconvincing Everton win, at least Arteta hit the ground running after signing a new long-term contract during the summer.
"Some of the things he did are what people pay to come and see," said manager David Moyes. "He has got a big part to play in where we finish up.
"I think he realises now that this is his Everton, his stage. It is important now that we finish off more of the openings he creates, coming in off both flanks.
"When you are a crowdpleaser like him, there can be a temptation to overdo it, but if ever I thought he was show-boating I would be the first to tell him. I haven't seen any evidence of it, though."
In his role as makeshift left back, Kevin Kilbane was on the receiving end and he backed Arteta's artistry to emerge as one of the season's talking points.
"This is the season in which he could go on to become one of the stars of the Premiership," said the former Everton midfielder.
Wigan's plight is apparently hopeless if pre-season forecasts are anything to go by, but there were signs that Jason Koumas could help defy the odds.
"Jason has fantastic ability and the selfbelief to be a success at this level," said manager Chris Hutchings.
I completely agree he is class, and i'd have him in my side over Ronaldo any day. i am biased though anyone else not looking forward to his eventual call-up, im afraid the world will see how good he is against any opponent and come in with their deep pockets.
Edited by Ash_, 13 Aug 2007 - 05:33.