The player’s body language has been so clear he may as well have walked around with the word ‘going’ stamped on his forehead. But, for Ronaldo, the transfer could damage his career.
Real are moving to the beat of Florentino Perez’s drum , the returning president aching to put a lid on Barcelona’s world dominance. Manchester City have threatened to buy big but Real have taken a step further, adding the Manchester United midfielder to the recent capture of Kaka.
But the sound of Perez’s thumping is not going to make an instant team. After all, last season Real finished nine points behind Barcelona. And, in the Champions League, they were embarrassed by Liverpool, losing 1-0 at home and 4-0 at Anfield and, as a consequence, failed to reach the last eight of the competition.
United lost to Barca in this year’s Champions League final having won it the previous season, yet Real have not won the trophy for seven years. Ronaldo could have joined Arsenal but chose United and saw his career burgeon in dramatic fashion, the man and the club improving in tandem.
But now Ronaldo will walk into a club playing catch-up, with a new team and new faces. And, more importantly, he leaves Sir Alex Ferguson behind and walks into company with a 55-year-old Chilean, Manuel Pellegrini, a qualified civil engineer charged with immediately returning Real to the top.
Yes, Ronaldo has the talent to rule the world stage; he is, don’t forget, the world and European player of the year. But he is also precocious, a young volcano, often volatile and unpredictable, and with a temperament that will be tested to the full in the hotbed of La Liga. His antics in the penalty area will face greater ridicule than he received in the Premier League.
In Ferguson, Ronaldo had a comforting arm, a reliable and protective figure always available to protect, nurture and advice. Perez has a fortune estimated at £1.8 billion, and will see this bid as a drop in the ocean, but he is dealing with a young man who needs nurturing.
The old adage of “better the devil you know” could not be better used than in describing the relationship between a 67-year-old Glaswegian and a 24-year-old son of Madeira.
“The Engineer”, as Pellegrini is known, may not quite bargain what he is about to buy.