The only thing stopping Cristiano Ronaldo from becoming a Real Madrid player is Manchester United themselves.
In his body language and in the words he says, it’s so apparent that Ronaldo wants to join Real Madrid. It’s always been his desire to play in Spain, so if the opportunity comes along he’s going to try to make it happen.
In his way though is Manchester United. It’ll be an interesting few weeks to see what happens between Real Madrid and Man United. Expect that Ronaldo will announce his desire to move from Man United in the next few days. After that happens, all hell will break loose. The media will go into a tailspin reporting about the latest developments of the story. Manchester United will apply their pressure and will contact their lawyers, if they haven’t done so already, regarding possible tapping up by Real Madrid. It’s bound to get ugly.
No matter how much we love our sport, though, we have to realize that at the end of the day these clubs are businesses that are run to make money for its owners or shareholders. In the case of Manchester United, this is probably the best time to sell Ronaldo. The Portugese star is currently the best player in the world. One year from now that could change and his value could diminish if another player takes his crown.
Sure, Ronaldo is a moneymaker for Man United both in terms of merchandise, season tickets and the way he wins games (which earns the club trophies and, more importantly in their case, money from tournaments and associated TV rights). But one man doesn’t make a team and it’s obvious that Ronaldo wants to leave. Keeping him at Man United after he makes his intentions clear that he wants to leave may create such pressure on him that his performances will decline. Plus consider the fans who will become outraged by Ronaldo’s desire to leave the club. Imagine if the player is heckled at friendlies this summer and what sort of impact that’ll have on Ronaldo.
It’s better to get rid of a disgruntled player than to have him sour the rest of the team.
The difficulty for the Glazers will be PR. If Ronaldo signs for Real Madrid, you can expect Man United supporters to create more of a backlash against the owners that Ronaldo himself. It could be a unjust PR nightmare for the American owners. The only win-win for them and Man United is if they convince Ronaldo to stay.
For Manchester United, Ronaldo would be a huge loss for the team but star players leaving the team have happened before and the club has worked around it and achieved greater success. Two perfect examples that come to mind are David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy. Both players were so intrical to the team that when they left a gaping void was clearly visible among the Manchester United team. It took several months before the team was able to adapt to life without those star players, but the club persevered.
With another Premier League trophy under their belt and a Champions League trophy to boot, now is the time for Man United to let go of Ronaldo and take him for every penny that they can get out of Real Madrid. The club can use the money to invest in several future starlets that could go on to be even bigger than Ronaldo as well as snapping up a few key major signings including Dimitar Berbatov.
This promises to be a very interesting next few weeks.