Rumours of Manchester United strongly pursuing an interest in Cristiano Ronaldo are making the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era a lot more exciting for the club’s fans than they expected. In recent days those hopes have been dampened and it looks like he will sign a new contract at Real Madrid. But would new boss David Moyes have made a big mistake if he went back and signed the former number 7?
Ronaldo is obviously an unbelievable player and would strengthen the team considerably. United never seem to be favourites to win the League, despite the fact that they often end up doing so, but the return of the Portugese forward would frighten their title rivals. Adding him to a side which racked up 89 points last season would be a great statement of intent.
However they often say that fairytale comebacks are just that – fairytales. They very rarely work out and can sometimes taint the good work done in the first spell.
I personally find it hypocritical that so many United fans slate Wayne Rooney for his behaviour (and rightly so) but seem to have forgotten about Ronaldo’s actions when he was at the club. In the same way Rooney has now tried to leave twice, Ronaldo did so THREE times. Once after the World Cup in 2006, then again in the summer of 2008, before finally packing his bags a year later.
That second one was particularly irritating – United fans should have been basking in the glory of winning the Double, but instead had to endure a summer of the Ronaldo show. He spent months openly craving a move to Real Madrid – even agreeing with Sepp Blatter’s comments that he was being enslaved. Considering United and their fans had been the only ones to stand by him when he came back from the World Cup as public enemy number one, this was pretty disrespectful.
After being persuaded by the manager to stay for another year, his attitude in that final season stunk. He was sulky, petulant and egotistical. One moment in particular stands out: a game against Sunderland where he just walked off the pitch without waiting for a substitution. His performance in the Champions League final against Barcelona also made it clear that he felt he was playing for Cristiano Ronaldo FC more than anything else.
If he’d been sold in 2008, then he would have left without any real blemishes. But his actions in that last 12 months soured things, and considering his ego has multiplied tenfold since then, bringing him back could cause more trouble than it’s worth. Again, United fans seem to have no interest in this– some even started up Twitter campaigns to bring him back to Old Trafford, which is embarrassing at best.
Think as well about the message him returning could send out to the young players in this new United side being built. Bringing back the star of a previous team shows a lack of confidence in their abilities; it’s like Sir Alex bringing back David Beckham when he was building that Ronaldo/Rooney inspired team in the middle of the last decade.
Finally, the only thing as big as Ronaldo’s ego would be his transfer fee and wages. Surely that money could be better spread across the team, especially in central midfield?
It’s probably an unpopular opinion, but I always think you have to look at the bigger picture. As great a player as he was and still is, Manchester United may be better off letting the past stay there.