It doesn’t matter how many people want him to go, or what the English press have been saying about him. It doesn’t even matter what Ronaldo himself has said.
What matters is this: Manchester United do not want to sell Ronaldo, and they are going to do everything they can to make him stay – which in this case means spending loads of money in the transfer market.
Ronaldo’s statement to the Portuguese media today saying that ‘staying at Manchester United’ would be fine is another sign of the winger’s troubled state of mind. He’s a player who thrives on the media spotlight, but the BS that he has copped from the media in England and the booing from the crowds in Germany have to have affected the mind of a 21-year old.
In truth, we are back where we were in the summer – Ronaldo knows Real Madrid will be interested in him, and he now has to decide whether he would stay at Old Trafford or go to Bernabeau. There are two problems here: 1) Ronaldo may not fit into Real Madrid as he’s not the first-choice winger being chased and 2) If United are able to prove their league and European ambitions in the transfer market soon, Ronaldo may yet be convinced to stay.
The question of blocking his transfer does not even arise – You cannot force a player to stay or play.
Will Capello go for Ronaldo? He’s already made clear that Robben is their first choice for a winger in the transfer market – only and only if the Robben deal does not come off (and it looks quite likely that it will happen) will Madrid move for Ronaldo. It doesn’t matter how much he wants to play for Madrid, if they don’t want him he’s not getting in.
And United? Manchester United desperately want Ronaldo to stay. After underachieving for the last three years they too want to start with a bang next season but unlike Madrid, the money and the players don’t look as if they are coming. It could be Ferguson’s recent image of driving away the top players, or it could United’s dismal performance in the Champions league, or worse, it could be a catch-22 situation with none of the top players wanting to come to United because they haven’t signed anyone good yet.
United go off to South Africa today, and the players will get back to Old Trafford by end of July. Ronaldo will have that much time to stay away from football, and United will have that much time to buy a midfielder or two in order to prove to the squad and the fans that the club is actually doing something to win championships next year.
Two interesting bits of news:
1) Lippi quit his post as Italy’s coach. He’s himself said that he won’t come to Old Trafford, so where will he go next?
2) Klinsmann quit his post as Germany’s coach and is headed back to California for a 6-month break. Could he be approached as United’s new manager for the 2007-2008 season? His brand of tactical, attacking football is something that resonates well with United’s history – he would be as good as signing as Capello would have been.
The Italian verdict may be out tomorrow (Thursday). That should tell us whether Gattuso is coming to United or not 🙂