Article from Nathan House.
Amongst all the euphoria surrounding the slow yet steady approach of the Premier League season, question marks are already being asked of David Moyes. Wayne Rooney’s transfer saga seems like it’ll go down to the wire, his departure to Chelsea would sure leave a bitter taste in the mouth but all this can be dispelled with the return of an Old Trafford legend, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Lets take you back briefly, in 2003 United traveled to Lisbon for a pre-season friendly to open Sporting’s new stadium and they left with more than just memories, they left with a future Ballon D’or winner. The speed, directness, flare and trickery of an unknown 18-year-old winger named Cristiano Ronaldo helped Sporting triumph 3-1. The players set about working on Sir Alex Ferguson on the flight home to bring Ronaldo to Old Trafford and the great Scot listened, listened to the tune of £12.24 million in fact.
Via amateur side Andorinha and top flight side CD Nacional, Cristiano Ronaldo found himself joining an illustrious list of those to graduate from Sporting’s conveyer belt of talent which includes Luis Figo, Simao Sabrosa and Joao Moutinho. Man United fans were left open jawed at this youngsters mouth-watering, precocious talent, yet even they couldn’t have predicted the path of their rough diamond over the next five years.
Homely Cristiano left his family in Madeira to progress in Manchester but his roots stayed close to him, therefore, when his father passed away in 2005 you couldn’t argue Ronaldo felt disillusioned with life at Old Trafford. So Sir Alex took him under his wing, this leading to Ronaldo later labelling Sir Alex a ‘father figure’. Under Sir Alex’s watchful eye Ronaldo flourished, as of yet he had nothing real to show for his efforts but an FA Cup in 2004 and a Carling Cup in 2006, oh how this would change! The next season came a league title and a clean sweep of the PFA end of season honours for United’s magical number 7. The season after, another league title with a Champions League winners medal to boot, Ronaldo’s 42 goal season will live long in Red memories, helping to earn Ronaldo the Ballon D’or award. Then followed another league, this time with a Carling Cup and Club World Cup for company.
Then came the unthinkable.
After 292 appearances and 118 goals at United, Spanish giants Real Madrid paid a world record £80 million to display Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer of 2009. Ronaldo has averaged over a goal a game in over 300 appearances for Real since, which is extraordinary. However, his trophy haul of a single La Liga title and a Copa Del Rey in four seasons certainly isn’t.
We’re now here in the summer of 2013. Rumours of Ronaldo returning just wont go away, especially after an emotional reunion with his old club in the Champions League last season. Those rumours are rife with talk Ronaldo is unhappy with Real Madrid taking a 60/40 majority of his image rights and only offering him a €40 million (only?!) contract, he believes he’s worth €45 million and really, who can disagree? Finances aside, another problem seems to be the Spanish medias high favouritism towards his rival for the tag of the best footballer in the world, Lionel Messi. Ronaldo feels being in Spain places him constantly in Messi’s shadow, and therefore second in the Ballon D’or listings. Add this to heavy rumours of Nike willing to front a lot of the players wages to get him out of Real’s Adidas strip and into United’s Nike strip, plus Chevrolets aim to help finance the arrival of a global superstar just as they take over from Aon as primary shirt sponsors. Then Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has many a dealings with United in his past so it all leaves you wandering, it just can’t happen, can it?
Add in a few facts, Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment at Real shows changing tides in Madrid, however Ronaldo still hasn’t signed that new deal repeatedly promised by Real President Senoir Perez. In 2015 Ronaldo’s contract is up and after the gigantic investment I can’t imagine Real will run his contract down and let him leave for nothing.
In all honesty, it’s unlikely. The financial extravagance, Real’s refusal to sell a star asset and Sir Alex’s retirement point to this conclusion. Plus, it’s not often one of the top eight footballers in the world transfers clubs, let alone one of the top two. However, Ronaldo recently claimed he ‘missed’ English football and ‘loved’ Manchester United.
It now depends on the desire and volume of the cries from that ‘inner child’ within him to help hasten the deal and bring him back home. Cristiano, your stage, the Theatre of Dreams, awaits….”
By Nathan HousePowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks