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80m Ronaldo up for the craic as Galactico gets set for Dublin debut
Published : 20 Jul 2009 08:35:58
Cristiano Ronaldo is getting ready for his debut after his £80m transfer to Real Madrid - against Irish minnows Shamrock Rovers The long pursuit is over, the £80million has been deposited in Manchester United's bank account and the £154,000-a-week contract has been signed, finally Real Madrid fans will get to see what all the fuss is about. Cristiano Ronaldo takes his bow for Los Merengues on Monday in the inauspicious surroundings of Shamrock Rovers' Tallaght Stadium in southern Dublin. If there is such as thing as low key when it comes to the FIFA World Player of the Year, then his introduction to world of Real via a training camp in Ireland has certainly been as such. There may have been 80,000 in the Bernabeu to greet the former United winger. But amidst tightly controlled security at the luxurious Carton House Hotel close to Dublin, Ronaldo has had to contend with no more than 100 well behaved autograph hunters on a daily basis. Wisely, Ronaldo has gone about his business with the minimum of fuss, a fact which has left highly influential dressing room veterans Raul and Michel Salgado extremely impressed. He was even uncharacteristically modest in his press conference, insisting he did not like the 'galactico' tag before claiming to be just one more of the boys. But on Monday night the shackles are off and Ronaldo will be expected to show 10,000 lucky fans, not to mention a global television audience, just why Real president, Florentino Perez, shattered the world transfer record top make him the cornerstone of his new galactico era. He will not even have to contend with Kaka taking some of his limelight as the Brazilian has been given an extended holiday thanks to his exertions in The Confederations Cup. Enlarge The stage is set for Ronaldo to demonstrate his full repertoire against a Shamrock side that, on paper, appear to be nothing more than lambs to the slaughter. But as veteran midfielder, Ollie Cahill, insited: 'It's about showcasing our club. 'Traditionally in Ireland, Shamrock Rovers is probably the biggest club but this is about people outside of Ireland sitting up and taking notice now. 'We are a good club with some good players and we no what we are doing, we are no mugs.' Unfortunately for Cahill and his Shamrock team-mates, making mugs out of opposition players has been Ronaldo's stock in trade for years. There are unlikely to be too many complaints even from the locals if Ronaldo turns in a real eye-catcher. After all, the chance to say 'I was there' is surely worth the admission fee and a consquent pasting for their side. The portents for an army of expectant new fans are good given a Real debut is something Ronaldo has waited for all his career.