The Guardian online is running a story that Portuguese star Ronaldo has let it be known that he would be consider a return to Manchester United after one further season with Real Madrid. Speculation has been rife that the player’s refusal to sign a new contract – his current one has just two years to run – was a sign that there was a chance for the Old Trafford club to prise him from Madrid’s clutches this summer. This may not be the case however.
It’s now thought that Ronaldo will be likely to take up a new contract with Madrid, but one that carries the condition that he will remain the club’s outstanding player. It’s seen as an issue important to the player, and as the club are keen to tie him to a new agreement, they’re unlikely to refuse. The issue arises of course due to the imminent arrival of Welshman Gareth Bale for Tottenham Hotspur. Whilst the exact extent of the fee will be a matter for conjecture, it’s abundantly clear that it will usurp the current record paid by Madrid for Ronaldo’s signature. There’s little room to doubt who the Portuguese feels will be the top dog at the Bernabeu.
It’s an interesting conundrum for Manchester United to consider. It would be difficult to find a United fan that didn’t crave the return of Ronaldo. From the club’s point of view however, some hard-headed thinking, rather than heart-ruling emotion will be required. If for a second we project forward to the summer of 2014, doubtless there’ll be speculation linking a Chelsea move for Rooney, Suarez will be looking to leave Liverpool and Arsene Wenger will be trying to sign Pele. But, more seriously, Ronaldo will be 29 and although doubtless still brimming with physical excellence, his next birthday will see him hit that footballer’s crest of the hill at 30.
It’s inevitable that, regardless of this, Madrid will still be looking for a huge fee. Doubtless the new season just under way will be another stellar one for the player, and the club will not consider his value diminished despite another year on his CV. There will also of course be the fact that Ronaldo himself is unlikely to be happy to take a pay cut to move back to Old Trafford. United will therefore have to dig deep to make it feasible. All that said, it’s unlikely that, if the chance did come along, that the club wouldn’t do all things possible to make it a reality.
One word of caution should be pointed out however. Ronaldo is the sort of player that enjoys being in demand. If the speculation about any new contract having a clause as alluded to above is correct, it’s an illustration of that very point. United must be wary of throwing bouquets at the player that end up merely feeding his ego, rather than drawing him back into the fold. But it’s a chance they may have to take.
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