I suppose I never really gave serious thought that Real Madrid would table a world record shattering bid for Cristiano Ronaldo. I mean, I figured with Kaká in the central attacking midfield role, Klaas Jan Huntelaar up top (Ruud van Nistelrooy apparently on his way out), some combination of Sneijder, Robben, and van der Vaart on the wings, the attack would be set. Therefore, CRonaldo would stay at Old Trafford for one more year.
But I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Cristiano Ronaldo joining Real Madrid’s Galacticos v2.0 stunned me this morning. Clearly, since Florentino Pérez had his 80 million pound bid accepted, a contract will be signed sometime in the next 3 weeks, probably making CRonaldo the highest paid player in the history of professional soccer. But that’s not the whole story. The whole story is how this affects two of the biggest clubs on the planet.
The first is, obviously, Real Madrid. Ruud van Nistelrooy’s days in Madrid are over. Two of Wesley Sniejder, Arjen Robben, and Rafael van der Vaart are also likely gone (cover will be provided by youngsters). Perhaps Gonzalo Higuaín will be sold, along with Fabio Cannavaro and, if I was running things, Javier Saviola. The Real Madrid team that takes the pitch for the first game next season will not look anything like the Real Madrid team that played a month ago. So, this brings up the question: can Manuel Pellegrini make them into a real team? I don’t think he can but Real should finish second without much effort and, with a little luck and depending on Barcelona’s summer moves, could finish first. The ideal manager is the one man who can pull mercenary squads together in no time: José Mourinho.
The second team is Manchester United. What will Sir Alex Ferguson do with 80 million pounds? Will the board pull an Arsenal and take the money away, instead applying it to the club’s massive debt? Since the latter is beyond depressing – seriously, you have that much debt even though untold millions were made from European football and merchandising and everything else? – I’ll look at the former.
Sir Alex has two pressing needs: wingers and a pit-bull defensive midfielder. Wayne Rooney should be played in the same way that Fabio Capello has been using him on the national team. Which means Berbatov is coming off the bench next year. For wingers, I prefer Franck Ribéry (though he will be terribly expensive and thus not worth the money) and Arjen Robben (who apparently can be had for a pittance; perhaps Sir Alex can have him thrown into the CRonaldo transfer).
Since Ribéry will not be going to Old Trafford anytime soon, might I suggest offering 30 million pounds to Valencia for David Silva? In the words of the Zohan, he is silky smooth. I don’t see Sir Alex spending money on a defensive mid so long as he believes Owen Hargreaves can recover from his most recent catastrophic injury.
I have faith that Sir Alex will turn the Glazers’ bags of cash into 2-4 good players. United have a deep squad but need to improve the first XI. I’m sure that will be Sir Alex’s aim for the next 5 weeks.