The Return of The Prodigal Son – Should Manchester United bring back Cristiano Ronaldo?
EDITOR’S NOTE: The opinions in this article are solely the author’s and not necessarily those of Sportskeeda.
As the football season draws to a close and the transfer season approaches, rumours are rife that contracts talks between Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo have broken down. Tabloids in the UK have reported that the player is frustrated with Real Madrid’s unwillingness to lower the percentage of revenue the club receives from the player’s individual endorsement. There are talks of Ronaldo being available for £55 million in the summer. Manchester United seems to be the favourites to sign him back because the player himself has confessed to his close friends that he misses playing at Old Trafford and he also misses playing under a manager who he came to regard as a father figure.
So does it make sense for United to sign Ronaldo if he is available? On an emotional level, all United fans will reply with a resounding yes. No one can forget what he brought to the club – the flair, the tricks, the power, and the amazing goals, all of which contributed to some of the best seasons United have experienced. He played a huge role in the Champions League win in 2008. Not to mention the Premier League wins of 2007-08 and 2008-09 as well. He was the top goal scorer in 2007-08 with 42 goals overall which led to him winning the Ballon d’Or. No one can argue that he is a phenomenal player who will bring success to whichever team he plays for.
But if we think practically, do United really need him? Or rather, can United afford to spend all their transfer money on him and forego strengthening in other areas of the team? With the acquisition of Robin Van Persie, United are not really lacking in firepower. They have already scored 64 goals in the League, and have many different goal scorers. One area where United really needs strengthening is in central midfield. Scholes will probably retire in the summer, Fletcher will not be the same player after his surgery, Anderson is often out with some injury or the other and Powell is not experienced enough to make an impact as of yet. Hence Carrick and Cleverley are the only options available; and though both of them are very good players, neither is of the class of Xavi or Iniesta. United really need to get a good attacking central midfielder who will complement the forwards because that is the area where United are found to be lacking, especially against bigger teams.
Another issue that United have faced this season is in defense. In the Premier League, they have conceded 31 times in 27 games. This is a bit too much for a team aiming to be Champions. The persistent injuries to Vidic and Ferdinand have resulted in the younger players being thrown into the deep end in important games. Jonny Evans has matured a lot, and both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have shown promise, but an injury to any of them leaves United without any backup in central defense. So United could do with another player in defense.
Considering these facts, would investing in Ronaldo be a wise decision? We must also consider that he is no longer a young player. There is no doubting his fitness, but as the years go on, his game is likely to change. He may no longer be as explosive as he is now. Furthermore, United already have two very good wingers in Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia. Not to mention Nani, who can be a match-winner at times. Then there is the new signing, Shinji Kagawa. If Ronaldo returns, what role will they play?
Sir Alex has often mentioned that he would love to have Ronaldo back at Old Trafford. Ever since he left, Ferguson has had nothing but good things to say about him. We can expect that if Ronaldo becomes available, United will try to get him. However, we may not be the only ones. Manchester City would also be interested. And they can probably offer him a better deal in terms of wages. Would Ronaldo put money before loyalty to the club that made him the player he is today? My heart says no, but common sense says yes.
In conclusion, bringing Cristiano Ronaldo back to England might not be as good a thing as it sounds, but it will certainly liven up the Premier League. We do miss his flair and knack for creating controversy!Published 28 Feb 2013, 10:45 IST