Should Manchester United Sell Cristiano Ronaldo?

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Rumours have surfaced that Cristiano Ronaldo – winger, Portuguese sensation, trickester and one of the reasons Ruud was shown the door on 7th May – has agreed to go to Real Madrid.

Manchester United made sure to refute the claims strongly, reiterating that Ronaldo was ‘under contract till 2010’ and only a ‘few months into a contract extension’ that was designed to keep him at Old Traffod instead of going somewhere else.

You can read what BBC Sport’s version of events here:

Ronaldo linked with Madrid Switch.

My issue here is not that Villar Mir has claimed contact with Ronaldo and an ‘agreement’ with Manchester United, or that Marca has attributed quotes to Ronaldo’s agent. This sort of thing happens, as it has with Arsene Wenger.

What worries me is that when push comes to shove, Manchester United will consider selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid – and that is a bad, bad decision.

The Glazers and David Gill wil listen to Ferguson’s evaluation that Ronaldo ‘is the future’, and they might even think that losing Ronaldo for United will mean that they are not the big club they once were, with our star players ‘moving on’. However, I’m worried that they will put more faith in the following:

1. Real Madrid will be willing to pay 20-25 million pounds for Ronaldo. As long as that deal involves a lot of cash up front, it is an excellent return for a player bought for 12 million 3 years ago.

2. Granted, Manchester United have spent a lot of time and money on him, but Ronaldo is still not a finished product. He needs to learn how to pass more and shoot better. United have yet to see a return from their investment in him, as his goals and moves have been spectacular but extremely inconsistent.

3. While Ronaldo will get better with time, United do not have the luxury of staying stuck in ‘build’ mode for another two years. Better to cash in on a player that promises much but delivers little.

4. Money from Ronaldo’s sale can be used to fund the purchase of either two strong midfielders or one star midfielder. If Manchester United fans were given the option to exchange a player like Diarra / Deco for Ronaldo, hands down 9 out of 10 they would choose to send Ronaldo out.

I don’t want Manchester United to lose Ronaldo. He is a good player and gives us a lot of options on both wings. And he is one of the reasons why United was able to end the season in 2nd place instead of 4th like Arsenal. In a perfect world Ronaldo would get better with time and we would want to keep him with us during that time.

But this is not a perfect world. Ruud van Nistelrooy should have been sold last season, when he would have fetched 25 million easy. This year we’ll be lucky to get 15. Ronaldo is not in the same position, but it’s no doubt that his value will skyrocket if he really is on the market. The United board will consider all options, and this very well could be their opportunity to make money (or fund transfers).

What if Ronaldo is sold? Park, Fletcher, Smith and Solksjaer – all four can play on the right wing. Not exactly heart-stopping for the opposition.

If Madrid are really in for Ronaldo, I hope United don’t sell him. I don’t want to see us lose a young player, especially when we’re so close to getting back on top.

What do you think? Will United go for the money or fight to keep Ronaldo?

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