Bryan Ruiz, Fulham, and unhealed wounds 3

Ben Weeks mournfully watches Fulham’s outcast Bryan Ruiz make a difference at the World Cup…

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“Maybe they don’t need me. They need Bryan Ruiz, believe me.”
We’ll never know, but I think Martin Jol was probably right on both counts when he said that last season.

I told myself I wouldn’t open this can of worms again, but the - admittedly limited - potential of Bryan Ruiz remaining at Craven Cottage, paired with his captaincy of a Costa Rican team who have progressed to the World Cup Quarter Finals provides ample opportunity with which to re-open some of the wounds for fans of Fulham, beautiful football and/or immaculate shiny hair.

Without arguing for the umpteempth time about whether it was his lack of physicality, lack of desire or Martin Jol’s failure to utilise him properly, this tournament has made abundantly clear what many were well aware of from his time at FC Twente, or else from the flashes of genius too rarely seen by the Thames - the continued questioning of whether Ruiz possesses the necessary talent required to succeed in the Premier League is essentially scandalous.

There’s a phenomenon we are probably all familiar with here in England:  we deride - sometimes fairly, sometimes unfairly - a certain type of player who plays a certain way, regardless of the rest of their skill set. We call them ‘luxury footballers’, in the pejorative sense. Luxury here is not used in the same way that Guylian might be termed a ‘luxury chocolate’ or business class as ‘luxury travel’ but rather in the sense that you might refer to owning a convertible in England - nice enough to show off occasionally, but ultimately a bit pointless.

Rather the antithesis of that Martin Jol argument for Bryan’s necessity, then.

It’s not that we should ignore all of the traits that are irritating about Ruiz - he’s still a bit lazy, his defensive contribution is negligible and physically he really ought to be more imposing. However, it is key that Fulham & Magath, or more likely whichever club in Spain or Holland he ends up at, recognise and utilise, rather than patronise, the elements of his play which have made him a success again in Brazil.

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