Real-ly chasing Ronaldo?

Real Madrid and Manchester United are two of the biggest clubs in Europe, and traditionally, have been super powers on the European stage. Lately though, the manner in which Real have chased Manchester United’s mercurial magician Cristiano Ronaldo has almost thrown a spanner in the wheels has caused a rift between the two champion sides.

Cristiano Ronaldo had been instrumental in United’s successive Premiership victories, and he also scored the only Man United goal in the Champion’s League final last month against Chelsea. United’s side are looking strong and have had a great season, winning in Europe for the second time under Sir Alex Ferguson, something that has eluded Real for the past few years. Something, that strangely, Real consider their birthright. Ronaldo has four years to go on his contract at Manchester United and is on a 130,000 pounds a week deal, one that is only matched by Rio Ferdinand’s at the club.

Real president Ramon Calderon insists that Ronaldo will sign for the erstwhile Los Galacticos and help them regain lost European glory. What Mr. Calderon seems to have forgotten is that at the helm at Man United is a seasoned manager in Sir Alex, and a shrewd and alert businessman in the CEO David Gill, and chances are that they won’t like to sell the one player that many believe to be the best in the world. Still, Calderon persisted with the transfer banter and did so much as announced publicly, as Real have in the past, that Ronaldo’s transfer to the Madrid side was almost complete and that Los Blancos will shell out the 100 million pounds that they think is Ronaldo’s value. Rebuffed again and again by United’s business and football franchise, and even threatened with a referral to football’s top body FIFA over the misconduct that seems to be their behavior in such regards, Real continue to humiliate themselves in the footballing fraternity.

Real have been at this game for a few years now, and Manchester United have been at the receiving end a few times. It began with the transfer of Ronaldo’s predecessor, the good looking and stylish, but strangely talentless David Beckham. Real chased and chased and harried and puffed down walls to acquire the signature of the then ‘largest football in the world’, and United conceded, following Beckham’s bust up with Ferguson. Beckham transferred to Real for a measly sum, and turned out to the one of the bigger flops at the Estadio Santiago Bernebeu. Goldenballs has since moved on to be a bigger flop in the Major League in the United States.

Next in line – the Flying Dutchman Ruud van Nistelrooy. Discontent after being left on the bench against a few teams, he too fell out with Sir Alex, and was courted indecently by Los Blancos. Van Nistelrooy has since proven his worth at Madrid, although age is clearly not on his side.

Madrid claim that they can purchase the best player in the world at all times, something that they think is theirs to do since the days of Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas in the late 50s and early 60s. Calderon, apparently, is still suffering from the aftermath of the two titles that Real Madrid won with the aid of Zidane, Figo and Co., and recently told the press that no one stopped them for spending 40 million pounds on a 29 year old player than, and no one will make any noise if the sign Ronaldo for a 100 million.

The problem with quashing this Real rambling for United has been the noncommittal status of the Portuguese star himself. Time and again, he has come to interviews to say that he happy to stay at United, only to tag it with a “no one knows about the future” at the end.

With strong words emerging from the United boardroom, but Calderon not laying down his guns, this one should stretch right through the European Championships.

Vineet Kanabar

[image source real Madrid]