The headline of this article is very much misleading. Real Madrid’s £80m bid for Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo is certainly very real. Just as with their recent £56 million signing of AC Milan’s Brazilian playmaker Kaka, the Madrid giants are very much prepared to the huge sum of money for the Portuguese winger.
However, it must be questioned what reality Madrid and more specifically club president Florentino Perez is living in. The world is in the midst of a global recession and corporations as large as Lloyds Banking Group are laying off thousands (if not tens of thousands) of staff, who are unable to find alternate employment. Despite this, the football world has gone mad, with the world transfer record about to be shattered for the second time in as many weeks.
That Perez is the man at the centre of it comes as no surprise. It was under his watch that the Galacticos era took place and the previous transfer record was broken when Madrid signed Zinedine Zidane from Juventus. Zidane was just one of many superstars to appear in a Real Madrid shirt alongside David Beckham, Luis Figo, Roberto Carlos and the original (and I would argue better) Ronaldo.
Perez returned to the club last month in a blaze of glory, promising to reform the Galacticos (perhaps forgetting the precious few trophies won under his original spell at the club). Kaka has signed, Ronaldo is on his way with the promise of many more, with Valencia’s David Villa strongly rumoured to be the next to signup at the Bernabeu.
As for Manchester United, they must be laughing all the way to the bank at the ridiculously high fee for an albeit immensely talented player. The facts are Ronaldo failed to recapture his blistering form from the 2007-08 season and for £80m, United will certainly be able to reshape their team which has shown recently it needs freshened up, despite recapturing their Premiership trophy.
The cold hard facts are United were outplayed by Barcelona in the final of the UEFA Champions League and with Carlos Tevez also linked with a move to Manchester City, it could be a very different United lineup next season. Ironically one man who could be appearing in a Man United shirt next season could be Madrid’s very own Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who has failed to settle in Spain.
Back to Madrid though and once again, they seem to have forgotten about their defence. It’s all well and good having stars like Ronaldo and Kaka going forward but the reality is, if you can’t defend set pieces, you aren’t going to win trophies. Madrid’s already vulnerable defense has been further weakened by the departure of Fabio Cannavaro to former club Juventus.
It remains to be seen how the Galacticos will fair – one thing that is certain however is that with Perez in charge, it won’t be low profile.
Written by Danny Watson, a professional sports writer who blogs about football news.