Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why Ronaldo would be mad to join Real Madrid...

Cristiano Ronaldo's "dream transfer" to Real Madrid has become a nightmare. In short, he would have to be blind and a complete idiot to even entertain such "fantasies". Going there might fulfil a boyhood ambition, but would certainly put an abrupt pause on his career.

Real Madrid are a side on the wane, they are trying to play Dutch football without a solid Dutch defensive backbone. They have talent to burn, but not enough quality squad players to allow their "flair" players any time to express themselves on the pitch. They can't afford to play with Huntelaar, Raul, Robben, Van der Vaart and Snjeider on the pitch at the same time, because none of them are ball winners, and good distributors of the ball. Their defence is decidedly shaky, and have many a time been salvaged but Iker Casillas or lady luck (via the woodwork).

With their club Presidential elections being held in the off season, some very wild and idiotic rumours are flying out of the Bernabeu, names such as Beckham and Roberto Carlos are being touted by leading candidates as players he would like to bring back to the club, as he no doubt tries to usher in "youthful" talent to return Real to the heights of their former glory days. True, experienced squad players are required, but players who actually contribute are more useful to the team effort, than 30-something has-beens. John Brewin of www.soccernet.com wrote last week that Ronaldo is comparable to the "1st violinist" at United, an important player, but the orchestra can go on without him. he also said that at Real, he would be pressured into creating and taking opportunities, being 1 of only 2 players (Robben) who have any real ability to carve up opponents. I couldn't agree more. At United, Ronaldo is like a fine wine, good by itself, or even better with a good meal. At Real, he would become cheap liquor, only good to get you drunk, then sick.

Surrounded by the best players, Ronaldo will no doubt improve upon his already vast talents. A 40+ goal season, from the "new" Ronaldo is almost impossible. So much so, I'd like to go so far as saying, that if it shouldn't happen, it would rank as a failure for him to do so. The "new" Ronaldo is a passer of the ball, a technically gifted, athletic, fleet-of-foot winger, who can beat defenders with both pace and guile. He looks up, looks for Rooney, Berbatov, Tevez, sees where they are going, assesses the situation and does what's required. Gone are the days when he would "step-over" his way down the touchline and cross a ball into the side netting (to the frustration of Ruud/Ole and Saha), or bamboozle defenders and fizzle shots high and wide. The new Ronaldo is a team player, and requires a good team to play with.

There are 2 categories of things a footballer (especially a young, single, Portuguese footballer) looks for in a club.
1. Team - Success, Strength, Potential, Importance/contribution to team.
2. Town- weather, night-life, girls

At United, all 4 boxes of category 1 are ticked, and judging by the headlines in News of the World/The Sun, 2/3 from category 2 are as well. Not much you can do about Mancunian weather is there! At Real, team strength is poor, potential is limited without some seriously heavy spending, but they are equally if not more successful than united. At Real, however, he would be their latest "golden-boy" and would be placed under a mountain of pressure to win games for them.
Category 2, however, leans heavily to a life in Madrid; the warmer climes favour him, as does the "legendary" nightlife and "talent”.

Ronaldo, I believe, is smarter than he lets on, (he did come to United at the right time didn't he?) and would rather play in a team that can win without him, allowing him the freedom to express himself as he wishes, than for a side that use him as a crutch. Such pressure to perform brings out the best in some people, but we are yet to see Ronaldo truly light the fireworks in the biggest of stages, so I doubt he can be classed in that bracket(penalty in Moscow comes to mind). That said, he'll probably see it as a challenge and move to Madrid.

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