With only 3 days to go till the start of the new English Premiership season, with the Community Shield between champions Manchester United and FA Cup winners Portsmouth, and the season proper kicking off a week later, Christiano Ronaldo has finally ended the biggest transfer saga, and soap opera, but stating that he will be staying with United, and not moving to Real Madrid this season. While Liverpool fans may feel that the Gareth Barry saga has been the longest will he won’t he story running throughout post and pre season, that episode, still on going, is somewhere behind the Ronaldo special.
That it has taken so long for Ronaldo to finally say what all United fans have been waiting for will mean little to people who adore the Portuguese flier, they just want him to stay. When Ronaldo makes his way back to Manchester he’ll be well received by United supporters, many of whom had begun to sway from their adulation and perceive the young man as money hungry and disloyal. All will no doubt be forgiven once Ronaldo makes his late start to the season, he is still recovering from ankle surgery, and United will be hoping it’s business as usual for their danger man.
There are however two sides to Ronaldo’slatest revelations. The positive side, as far as United is concerned, is that he has reaffirmed his commitment to the champions, and put aside any fears that he is being held against his will by the club, and thus will not be giving his all each match day.
“Before rumours emerge saying that I will play against my will, I want to make this clear – whoever says or writes that is lying,” he told Portuguese newspaper Publico.
“I will play for Manchester with all my heart and soul. I will fight and honour that shirt with the same commitment and dedication as always.”
So either Ronaldo is trying to make up for the episode that has led to people questioning his motives and loyalty by saying “the right thing” and perhaps he has been coached about what to say. Or Sir Alex was right all along and the boy is happy and always has been happy at United. The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but or all Ronaldo’s glitz, glamour and increasing world celebrity, he is at the end of the day a committed professional. You don’t get to where he has over the last few years without putting the work in and making the sacrifices. So there should be little doubt that Ronaldo will give his all when out on the pitch for United.
The part of the interview that should be of concern to United fans is that he has only really gone as far as to say he will be at United for the coming season, and that he does want to play for Madrid, leaving the door open to the entire episode repeating itself at the end of the season. Ronaldo did reveal that it was winning the champions league that made him feel that it was time to move on, having swept the board with team and individual honours during his five year spell in England.
“After we’d won the Champions League, I felt that in five years I had helped win everything there was to win.
“We’d won the Premier League twice and I’d won a host of individual awards, including the best goalscorer in the Premier League, Champions League and in Europe. So, I felt that maybe I needed a new challenge.
“I never hid the fact that I wanted to play in Spain, at Real Madrid in particular, and I thought this could be the right moment. Manchester United and Real are probably the two biggest clubs in the world and it would never be an easy decision to make.”
So Ronaldo is staying, which is great, but still wants to go to Madrid, which is not so great. It will be up to Sir Alex, United, and the fans to show him that there is no better place for him to be, even sunny Spain, and it seems they have a year to do so.
For now though Ronaldo is still a Manchester United player, and everyone concerned will be glad this saga has been put on hold for the time being, and the football can now begin.