Tag Archives: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo presented at the Bernabeu

Cristiano Ronaldo presented

Cristiano Ronaldo presented

In front of 80,000 fans. Holy crap.

He said all the right things when he was presented, too. How it was his childhood dream to play for Real and how appreciative he was of Sir Alex and Manchester United fans. Even though he probably doesn’t mean it, it’s still good that he said it.

I’m not entirely sure how Kaká and Ronaldo are going to work together, but it’s going to be fun watching them. I may have to take time out and actually watch some Real Madrid games other than the Clásico next season.

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Ronaldo transfer completed

Cristiano RonaldoAccording to ESPN Soccernet, Real Madrid and Manchester United have completed the £80 million Cristiano Ronaldo transfer today. He signed a 6-year contract with the Spanish club. He will be presented to the media and fans on 6 July.

Speculation is that Ronaldo will wear number 9 with Real Madrid. He apparently trademarked a new logo and brand, called CR9. I expect he’ll switch to number 9 for the Portugal national team, as well (unless he can’t because someone else has claimed the number; I can’t see that scenario happening).

I still think this can work out for Manchester United, if Sir Alex makes the right call on replacing him. As of right now, I’m in favor of him spending £30 million on Karim Benzema from Lyon and about £25 million on David Silva from Valencia. Although, United are apparently the favorits to get Luis Antonio Valencia from Wigan for approximately £15-19 million.

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Saturday Night Links: Replace Ronaldo with 3 players?

According to this espn.com Soccernet post, Sir Alex may have to bring in 3 players to replace Cristiano Ronaldo’s production. Dale Johnson makes a good point in that Ronaldo habitually put the lesser lights in the Premiership to the sword. Though I disagree with his conclusion that Ribéry is an absolute necessity. Bringing in David Silva and Karim Benzema would be the best move, IMO.

F365 listed its 10 transfers it wants to see this summer. It looks like number 1 might just come true after today’s news that Tévez has rejected Man Utd. And I’ll admit that it would be funny to see the Neviller jump up and down like Rumpelstiltskin and Rooney cry. Though I don’t think it’ll happen.

Nick Miller at F365 writes here that losing Tévez was a blessing in disguise for Man Utd. I agree.

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Saturday night links: Sir Alex looks for Ronaldo replacement

Sam Cronin celebrates his first MLS goal

Real Madrid will apparently offer €25 million plus Álvaro Negredo to Valencia for David Villa.

Sir Alex has begun the search for Cristiano Ronaldo’s replacement by lodging a £16 million bid for Wigan winger Antonio Valencia.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80 million transfer was apparently impacted by Sir Alex’s reluctance to encourage his players to maximize their off-field earnings. Ronaldo apparently wants to emulate David Beckham and become and off-field commercial force.

German international Jermaine Jones, whose father is American, wants to play for the US. More details, along with actual reporting, at Soccer by Ives.

Toronto FC beat Red Bull New York tonight by a score of 2-1. Congrats to Sam Cronin on his first MLS goal.

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The Ronaldo transfer: breaking teams and records

cristiano ronaldo

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.

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Champion’s League Final: A study in beautiful football?

Head v. heart: who wins? Your head thinks logically, looking at the positives and negatives and comes up with a perfectly legitimate conclusion. Your heart, though, is different. It looks for something that will make it sing. Its conclusions might not be justified logically but, dammit, they just feel right. And that’s the Champion’s League Final in a nutshell: Barcelona, purveyors of beautiful football, versus Manchester United, the most efficient wrecking ball in Europe.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been reading a lot about beautiful football. The idea that Arsenal play beautiful football is absurd, though Holland had a reasonable facsimile on display in Euro 08 last summer. But, really, the only club truly devoted to beautiful football is Barcelona.

Messi v. Ronaldo

Barcelona has the midfielders and the strikers to make it work. And everything is driven by their number 10, the brilliant Argentine Lionel Messi. He brings a simultaneous joy and effortlessness to the game. Your heart wants to see him run down the side and break down 3 or 4 defenders before finally slotting it home. Or, perhaps, it wants to see him make that pass – the one he saw that nobody else could – for an easy goal by Samuel Eto’o or Thierry Henry.

Contrast that to Cristiano Ronaldo. The flopper. The fop. The no-show in big games. The man who always looks grim. Greg Lalas compared the Red Devils to an old Soviet Red Army parade: the weapons were awe-inspiring and nobody smiled. It’s a comparison that only goes so far. The old Red Army was a sham: it was built on the illusion of strength. Manchester United, though, has actual strength. It has been flexing its muscles for the last two months.

If this were a boxing match, the hype man would be shouting Ronaldo! Messi! Stadio Olimpico! The fight of this century and the next! Their individual styles are deceptively complimentary. Ronaldo is the bulldog who can show flashes of the gazelle. Messi is the gazelle who bulldogs when he has to. They are, perhaps, the two best players in the world right now.

I am a huge fan of Messi. You all know that. He’s mesmerizing. He shows up in big games. He has that sixth or seventh sense that I only remember seeing in Wayne Gretzky (and, perhaps, Mario Lemieux): the ability to see where people are going to be in a half-second. He’s a leader and Barcelona’s most influential player, despite Xavi and Iniesta and Henry, all great leaders in their own rights. Messi is the key to Barcelona’s attack and, even if he doesn’t touch the ball, he impacts how the defense reacts.

What does the Final mean, then? For Manchester United, it’s a chance to seal one of the all-time great runs in Europe and England. For Barcelona, it’s a chance to show that Beautiful Football works on, perhaps, the world’s second biggest stage.

Messi versus Ronaldo. Manchester United versus Barcelona. This could be the start of a beautiful rivalry.

Manchester United FC 3, FC Barcelona 2

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Florentino Pérez states the obvious

Florentino Perez

Florentino Pérez officially announced his candidacy for President of Real Madrid today with the stunning announcement that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world.

I’m shocked.

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