Initially, upon the news of Christiano Ronaldo’s record breaking transfer from Manchester United to Real Madrid, many were quick to criticize the Portuguese winger for what they saw as an ignorant, arrogant move, most specifically the British media and Red Devils supporters themselves. However, nearly a month later, life at the Bernabéu has taken on some exciting personnel changes, while United have been oddly subtle in this summer’s transfer window. Now that the shocking news of Ronaldo’s £80 million move has settled in, how does his future look now?
Team: Advantage Real Madrid
In recent years, Manchester United have clearly been a better side than Real Madrid, most notably in Europe. Historically, however, Real has had better success, a past they look sure to revive next season. In effort to mimick the Galacticos era from previously in the decade, Florentino Perez has returned as president of the club and is fulfilling his promise of big spending. Not even two months into the 2009 summer transfer window, alongside Ronaldo, Real has signed Kaka and Karim Benzema. And Franck Ribery has come out and said he wants to leave Bayern Munich for Real only. Among returning players at the club are Raul, Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Wesley Schneider, and Robben, to name a few. No defense? No worries. With an offense like that, Real Madrid boasts Europe’s most high-powered attack for the upcoming season.
Manchester United, on the other hand, have unexpectedly experienced difficulty attracting big names to the club. Having already lost Ronaldo, and with Carlos Tevez announcing his departure from Old Trafford, the Red Devils look to replace scorers of 87 goals over the past two years. So far, injury-prone Michael Owen, Antonio Valencia formerly of Wigan, and French international Gabriel Obertan look to be United’s only solution, which on paper looks mediocre at best.
Manager: Advantage Manchester United
As Christiano acknowledged during an interview following his presentation at Real Madrid, Sir Alex Ferguson is the “father” of his footballing career. Ferguson, arguably the best manager in the world, has made Ronaldo nearly everything the player has come to be. Unfortunately, equivalent coaching is something Ronaldo will not experience at Real Madrid. In fact, Ronaldo may even lack consistent managerial personnel during his time at the Bernabéu. Real dispose of mangagers like toilet paper, with five different individuals at the helm over the past five seasons. Fabio Capello was even sacked after winning La Liga in 2007. For Premier League junkies like myself, we see specifically with Chelsea how this has found not success on the field, but rather division in the locker room. Frequent managerial changes at Real may have Ronaldo wishing he hadn’t left the world’s best coach after all.
Which league in Europe is the best is a very controversial topic. Most, like myself, would say the English Premier League, but if there was any challenger, it would most definitely be Spain’s La Liga. While lately the EPL has had better success advancing deep into the Champion’s League, Barcelona are the reigning champions, and Real Madrid look poised to go far next year. Neither league does very well in the UEFA Cup (now known as the Europa League), though. Also note that many of Europe’s big stars are spurning England this summer, too. Both Benzema and Ribery have said they don’t like English football (or in Ribery’s case, English weather), and David Villa wants to remain in Spain despite huge interest from both Chelsea and Man U.
The coming years are more an advantage to Ronaldo than they are to Real or a disadvantage to Manchester United. Ronaldo has constantly reiterated that playing at Real for him will be fulfillment of a childhood dream. With United he has already won every trophy in England- the Premier League, the FA Cup, the Carling Cup- as well as achieving a Champions League title and a FIFA Club World Cup title. The 2009-2010 campaign will allow him to start from scratch in a quest to win the Spanish equivalent of trophies. As Ronaldo hopes, in a few years he will have dominated football in not one country, but two.
Verdict: Not so fast my friend. Christiano Ronaldo’s transfer doesn’t look so bad after all.