Thursday, 7 August 2008

The waiting is over... for now

As the Real Madrid squad fly out to Colombia for a (presumably) lucrative friendly against Independiente de Santa Fé, the news filtered out that the long-running saga around Cristiano Ronaldo is over, at least for this summer.

In an interview with Portuguese daily Publico (reproduced in full and translated to English in The Guardian), the Manchester United winger finally declared his desire to "fight and honour the shirt with the same desire and dedication I always have".

It has taken a lot longer than the "couple of days" he needed to sort out his future after Portugal was dumped out of Euro 2008 back in June. This delay, however, was not covered in the questions in the carefully crafted interview. The player now claims he's listened to Alex Ferguson's arguments and has been persuaded to stay at Manchester United. Crucially, Ronaldo says he will be playing at United "next season", rather than any more concrete statements about seeing out his contract. This has fuelled further speculation that there is some sort of understanding between Manchester United and Real Madrid to resume negotiations after the season is over.

Cristiano took the blame upon himself (although "wholly unintentionally") for the tense relationship between the two clubs, and has not ruled out playing for Real Madrid at some point in the future, as he would like a "new challenge" and "the chance of being an hour's flight" from his family in Portugal. What he does not make clear is whether he is now persuaded that Manchester will give him the challenge that he is looking for.

He does not fear the potentially hostile Manchester United fan base on his return to Old Trafford, saying that "people can't be upset about me fulfilling a childhood dream", which is either naive or disingenuous. Given that he's probably out injured until October, tempers may have cooled enough by that time to help ease his way back into the team relatively smoothly.

All this leaves Real Madrid, and especially motormouth president Ramón Calderón, without their summer star signing (for the third year in a row). In and of itself, that is not necessarily a bad thing, as I've argued several times that Ronaldo was perhaps not the best fit, either for squad balance, or from a team-morale perspective. However, the whole saga has unsettled Robinho, who's been asking to be sold to Chelsea to join Scolari's new project there.

On top of that, all of Real Madrid's transfer plans have been dependent on this one huge deal, which have meant very little movement in June and July, other than the signing of Van der Vaart (probably accelerated - and made more expensive - after Schuster's outburst last week). The one silver lining is that there are still over three weeks left of the transfer window, but Calderón has already intimated that there may not be any more signings this summer. I guess this all depends on any players leaving, and the squad looks a little light in the centre forward stakes.

4 comments:

Lau said...

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I also have a real madrid´s blog,
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Sorry for my english, It isn´t very good, but I hope you can understand it!

http://hala-real-madrid.blogspot.com/

Brian said...

Gonzalo-
With Chelsea's bid for Robinho, how likely do you think it is that he leaves Madrid for the premiership?

Gonzalo said...

Brian,

I don't think Schuster will want to let Robinho go, but there's been a lot of noise from his agent about his being undervalued by the club. Whether this is just a negotiating ploy to improve his contract or a real indication that he's unsettled and wants to leave, we really will just have to wait and see. Fortunately, there's only just over 3 weeks until the transfer window closes.

Gol Blanco said...

After the fall of the signing of CR do not think it appropriate to Madrid to sell Robinho.