The footballing universe was left hanging in suspense after Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo took to Twitter to announce all rumours of an agreement over a new contract with Los Blancos false. It also took just several tense minutes after the dramatic announcement before fans and pundits alike immediately began debating intensely over what the unpredictable Madrid striker’s next move would be. With outrageous speculation and fabricated gossip dominating much of social networking sites and sports columns, the never-ending buzz surrounding one of the best players’ on the planet refused to calm, with one familiar and famous fanbase in particular being sent into a wild frenzy: the Manchester United supporters.
Although interesting odds ranged from the absolute absurd in claims Ronaldo was mulling over a transfer to Monaco, to many believing a shock move to another Premier League club could be on the cards – the one team which has always looked most likely to land the signature of the skilled Portuguese footballer has been Manchester United. After a dream move from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Ronaldo’s fairytale story with the Red Devils had cruelly culminated with a stunning transfer to Real Madrid which shook the world only three years ago. Ever since the move materialised though, United fans refused to believe they had seen the last of Ronaldo in a red shirt – the same burning hope that has been fuelled by the circulation of ceaseless rumours associated with the talented and confident star in recent months.
However, even though United fans may well be immune to the heartbreaking reality for now, one has to wonder just how close they are to what would be the biggest transfer of all time, as although many believe a move to Manchester may be imminent – here are several reasons why it is important to stay grounded and remind ourselves the situation in Madrid may not be quite so rosy and seasoned for a transfer of one of the biggest superstars in not just football alone, but the whole world.
3. On a footballing standpoint, are Manchester United better than Real Madrid?
When players trade clubs, it usually comes down to two small things: their wages and potential of winning trophies, something which is a necessity if players look to be recognised as the one of the best. In February, the whole world was on the edge of their seats as a long-awaited, momentous collision between two footballing juggernauts in Manchester United and Real Madrid finally happened, with Real Madrid winning the tie 3-2 over two exciting legs and progressing to the quarter-finals of the legendary Champions League tournament. Even though it reminded Ronaldo of the glory he had once happily experienced at Old Trafford in an United shirt, it reminded the everyone of English football’s deterioration in the big leagues and ultimately showed teams like Manchester United still had a long way to go if they were to successfully clinch the Champions League trophy once again.
Consequently, even though United’s chances may have been considerably lessened by a controversial decision from the referee of the second tie in Manchester, it was safe to assume the better team had deservedly advanced through to the next round. A lot of people believe Ronaldo is one of the few left who plays football because of the unmatched love, passion and grace he has maintained since he was a small child developing his natural talent and prowess in the streets of the small town of Santo Antonio, Funchal. Seeing as Real Madrid are definitely part of the top five in both popularity and technicality, and in a much higher position than Manchester United in both aspects – one has to ponder exactly why Ronaldo would leave the prominent club to join one which is arguably a fraction of the side they used to be in the past, especially in terms of their decline in individual starpower and quality of play.
2. Moyes has been promised funds, but just how much is he allowed to spend?
Aside from the impervious task of persuading Ronaldo to come to Old Trafford, another big factor which would almost certainly delay smooth proceedings is the transfer fee. With just a surprising £52.9million being the highest amount of cash United have splashed on players in a season during the past five years (in comparison to their rich rivals Manchester City and Chelsea) it is fairly obvious this amount alone wouldn’t even cover three-quarters of the ridiculous fee Real Madrid would certainly demand for their unsettled, Portuguese gem. In fact, it is safe to say a price ranging from £60million-£70million would be an ambitious estimate to say the least, as it’s likely Real Madrid wouldn’t want to increase losses (which would already be extremely painful for both the club and their fans) even further by struggling to reclaim the £80million they’d forked out for the greatest although debatable, player in the world.
Last year, Manchester United spent £48million, with half of this hearty bundle contributing to the mega-transfer which allowed Robin Van Persie to move to Manchester from old-enemies Arsenal. With United also being linked to other world-class, international stars in Barcelona playmaker Cesc Fabregas and Dortmund hitman Robert Lewandowski, it is hard to imagine whether manager David Moyes would have the backing from the board to invest in such an extraordinary trio of attacking players, despite how low-risk it may seem. With outside bets also being placed on close links to in-form midfielder Gareth Bale and Dutch starlet Kevin Strootman, Moyes would have to play a dangerous game of elimination, and prioritise Ronaldo to other, equally-gifted players, even if it does leave United short of the quality they have needed in several areas for the past few years now.
Additionally, even though Ronaldo would be the player fans are clamoring profoundly for, there would be a lot of pressure on Moyes to make the right decision – and one which could cost them a Premier League title, a same mistake their Manchester counterparts made in the pre-season negotiations last year; the same mistake which would eventually lead to their faint and diminishing hopes of regaining their title as the season continued.
1. What reason would Ronaldo have for leaving?
Aside from the obvious fact Ronaldo has had previous history with the club, the only other reason anyone believed Ronaldo had for a return to Old Trafford one day was his renowned relationship with former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In the past, the Portuguese sensation spoke of his treasured and strong bond with Sir Alex, even stating he saw him as a father-figure due to the way he nurtured the star’s rise as a youngster, both on and off the pitch. However, with Ferguson unfortunately announcing his inevitable retirement at the end of last season, a lot of pundits began to question just what Ronaldo really has left in Manchester.
Furthermore, everyone in football is aware of the clear attraction and love between young, foreign starlets and Real Madrid, and you only have to look at examples of players such as Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain who may not be satisfied with the amount of game-time they’ve had during their time at the Bernabeu, but equally cannot bring themselves to leave such a historic and prestigious club. Put simply, you cannot play for a club any bigger than Real Madrid – the amazing experience of playing for Real Madrid is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and only the absolute best such as Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane have graced the 85,000 Los Merengues spectators week in, week out on a regular basis.
Therefore, one has to really wonder why Ronaldo would want to leave the remarkable club to rejoin an old club which pretty much already regards him as one of its legends – instead of cementing his legacy at the Santiago Bernabeu and continuing his epic rivalry with Lionel Messi in order to solidify their attempts of silencing the other as truly, the world’s greatest.