So its official, Manchester United’s board have accepted a world record shattering bid of £80 million this morning from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t face another summer of every news outlet boring us to tears speculating on Ronaldo’s future as we had last season. Day after day, hour after hour, miniscule item after item of droning with ultimately no end product.
This means at last Ronaldo can get the move he claims is a dream for him, United can get £80 million for a player who is clearly nowhere near the level he was in 2007-2008 and Real Madrid can keep signing attacking players that won’t win them anything next season. I wonder if Michele Platini is about to launch a stinging attack on Florentino Perez as he clearly spends money the club don’t have. Of course not!
I’m sure some Manchester United fans will be devastated to be losing Ronaldo, there’s no doubt on his day he is a fantastic player, but last season saw his performance fall away from the level he’d set himself. Of course, Madrid’s courting of him all summer only for Ferguson to dig his heels in would have affected him and he once again failed to deliver for Portugal in a major tournament. Missing preseason with an injury didn’t help, but the Champions League final saw him completely outshone by Iniesta, Xavi and Messi.
No doubt Ferguson will be getting some criticism of some of Manchester United’s more uneducated fan base, but there’s no way you can turn down that amount of money for any player. If anything, United are probably selling him at the right time, its doubtful anything he does next season would increase his value, so Ferguson and United are right to sell him now. Ferguson has been slatted before for selling players certain fans thought were irreplaceable but three titles and two Champions League finals in the last 3 seasons answers any criticism the doom mongers may offer up.
United will now probably push on for a replacement, Franck Ribery, Antonio Valencia and Karim Benzema have all been touted as replacements, though United may take two of those with the funds they receive from Madrid. With Madrid buying Kaka and Ronaldo, it probably frees up those three to join other clubs and United will be jostling with Chelsea and Barcelona to sign them up. As for Madrid, Perez’s ill feted galactico scheme seems to have been brought back for the dead and it wouldn’t surprise me if they go after one other massive signing soon. Shame they’ve forgotten how bad the defence was at Madrid last season, so Perez would a fool to ignore strengthening the back line.
The additional aspect of this is that the transfer merry go round should begin to kick off all over Europe now, with the Kaka, Diego and Barry deals being the only 3 major transfers since the domestic season finished all over Europe. The bubble is well and truly set to continue growing in the Premiership and La Liga, and most of the major clubs in both countries yet to start spending, the silly season could be just around the corner.
As for Ronaldo, sure, it’ll be a shame to see him leave the Premiership, but Spanish football and La Liga isn’t far behind in popularity so he’ll not disappear from view. Over the time he spent at Old Trafford, he’s thrilled as many people as he’s annoyed. His performances over the years at club level have propelled him to the forefront of football fans all over the world and his superb season for United in 2007-2008 will live long in the memory. It’s been a privilege to watch him for the last 3 or 4 seasons, but the Premier League and Manchester United will survive and flourish without him.