Monday, October 27, 2008

Brown-nosing Real Madrid trying to get Ronaldo on the cheap?

Real Madrid's silence over the future of Cristiano Ronaldo was all too short, when they knew United were not going to sell their star player to the Spaniards' in the last transfer window, they somewhat reluctantly threw in the towel and temporarily conceded defeat.

Since then we've heard the usual media wind-bags, aka 'informed sources', spinning various lines such as "Real are no longer interested in Ronaldo". However, about a week ago, Bernt Schuster, the Madrid coach, stated that, yes indeed, his club still wants to sign Ronaldo.

In the summer Real used every trick in the book to try to force United to sell Ronaldo, there was even talk that they wanted the player to go on strike and again if we believe what the 'insiders' tell us to be true, the fact that he did not withdraw his labour allegedly upset the Spanish club.

Whatever the truth behind the rumours surrounding talk that Ronaldo was to go on strike, Real Madrid's heavy-handed media assault failed - it was a total disaster because they also lost Robinho.

It came as no surprise then to hear Ramon Calderon over the weekend stating that they don't want to upset United. Clearly having failed with the battering-ram, the Madrid president has changed tactics, because he's now trying to give us the impression that his club are distancing themselves from Ronaldo.

Coming on the back of the latest spin emanating from the Real Madrid president, is it not a bit strange that Marca of all media outlets published quotes attributed to Ronaldo which state that he has committed his future to Manchester United, with the added rider that "I'm happy for now"?

When you think about Madrid's media led summer pursuit of Ronaldo, it was handled very badly, it was dumb, because Ronaldo's price was probably as high as it was ever going to be. Following on from the failed transfer coup of last summer, it appears that Madrid have launched a slightly more subtle approach, with a view to possibly capturing the player for a lot less money.

The form of Ronaldo hasn't reached the heights of last season, there has been various theories punted about this, such as he's not yet fit following his operation. Then there are those who believe that perhaps Ronaldo is holding back.

The very fact that Ronaldo's quotes appeared in Marca adds a certain amount of weight to the theory that this latest burst of media activity surrounding Ronaldo's future is suspicious to say the least. Personally, I don't trust Marca - do they have an office at the Madrid club?

My gut instinct is that Calderon's recent statement over Ronaldo should be dismissed out of hand; the same can be said of the Ronaldo quotes in Marca. What we are seeing is the beginnings of another orchestrated media-led campaign to capture the player next summer.

Ronaldo's future pledge would have more credence if he'd spoken to the British media, rather than the Real Madrid publicity machine that is Marca. Until I hear Ronaldo say that he is totally committed to United I simply do not believe it.

Like many other sensible United fans, I have been more than happy to back Ferguson over Ronaldo and I hope that his faith will be rewarded with yet more silverware. If United win the title or the Champions League again this season, Ronaldo can go as far as I'm concerned, I suspect Fergie has hinted as much to the player, but again I think we the fans should back the manager's judgement over this issue.

Time will tell if I'm right or wrong over Real Madrid's media antics.

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