by Thomas Rooney
Every summer there is an annoying transfer saga that just won’t go away. This summer (other than Hoolahan to City) it has been Cristiano Ronaldo’s potential move to Spanish giants Real Madrid. There have been constant rumours surrounding the future of the Portuguese winger – he has apparently said he wants to play for Madrid and that he has yet to decide his future.
The latest development is that Manchester United have lodged a complaint to Fifa as they believe the Spanish side have deliberately attempted to unsettle the player. They have recently disputed such claims saying that the Premiership Champions have ‘no evidence’ to support their complaint. It’s like a soap opera isn’t it? It’s one of those story lines that drags on and on…..and on.
My take on it is that Ronaldo should stay put. I think he owes Manchester United for becoming the player he is today. When he joined he was a raw talent who dived all over the show and did more stepovers than anything else. Don’t get me wrong, their was potential there, but it was down to Alex Ferguson to get the best out of it. Had he stayed in Portugal or moved to Spain earlier, he might not be producing the displays he has been recently.
Despite being at Old Trafford for five years, Ronaldo has only given Manchester United two seasons of his best football. For nurturing his talent, he owes them at least a couple more. In the last two campaigns he has won the Premier League twice and the Champions League once. He knows that Manchester United need him and at just 23 years of age, he should be in no rush to move on.
I can understand that he wants to test himself elsewhere at some stage in his career; the timing just doesn’t seem right now. In five years time, when he will be at his footballing peak, I wouldn’t expect him to be playing in England. That’s fair enough. For now though, he is playing for the Champions of Europe – so why move? I know there is quitting while you are ahead, but really…..why?
There has been much debate regarding how Manchester United would fair if they lost Ronaldo. I personally believe they will struggle initially, but in the same way they coped when Ruud van Nistelrooy and David Beckham departed – they will come through just as strong. Although, put it this way, if I was to bet on the Premier League, I would want to see where Ronaldo’s future lied before I spent my money. He is key to their short term success.
Speaking of Beckham, he has urged Ronaldo to stay at Old Trafford – for now. Becks has said that Ronaldo is ‘only just starting’ at Manchester United and I agree with this 100%. He is on a fantastic contract and is winning trophies with a club who have turned him into the best player in the World. The last thing he would want to do is move to Spain and fail to find his best form. Something Thierry Henry has done after moving to Barcelona from Arsenal.
For now though, it is all about the national team for Ronaldo. His Portugal team have made it to the quarter-finals and if I was to bet on Euro 2008, I would be inclined to back the Portugeuse to win the tournament. He has been in fine form during their group games and probably knows in his own head what colours he will be wearing in August. He’s just letting the world’s press play a guessing game.
After the fiasco of Rooney’s sending off in the World Cup, I lost a lot of respect for Ronaldo. He was, for a while, the number one hate figure in England. However, the way he came back from this and the way he has performed in the last two seasons, I couldn’t help but respect his talents. I enjoy watching him play.
If he jumps ship to Madrid this summer though, he would lose my respect once again and I think many, many people in football would feel the same way.