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Man Utd should sell 'slave' Ronaldo

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Phil McNulty | 08:52 UK time, Friday, 11 July 2008


Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the start of the new season after undergoing complex surgery to remove the foot firmly jammed in his mouth.

Well it's his ankle actually, but there is clearly a more serious problem troubling Manchester United's superstar.

There must be after he aligned himself with Fifa president Sepp Blatter's assertion that there is "too much modern slavery" in football and his helpful suggestion that Manchester United should facilitate Ronaldo's dream to play for Real Madrid.

Let me make one thing clear - I shed not a single tear for Manchester United or Sir Alex Ferguson as they make their complaints about Real Madrid's campaign to sign Ronaldo.

United and Ferguson have relentlessly and ruthlessly pursued players from home and abroad in recent years - and plenty of clubs have tried and failed to keep their stars in the face of their attentions.

Whether we like it or not, this is the law of the jungle in modern-day football and United have used it to their advantage.

So this, in my opinion, is simply a case of the biter bit.

Indeed, if you listen hard enough, you might just hear the chuckling from those who inhabit Goodison Park, White Hart Lane, Villa Park and other places on a regular basis as United try to fight off Real's tried and trusted transfer methods.

United, however, have every right to tell Blatter to keep his nose out of their business after he effectively suggested every contract signed in football should actually be meaningless, although we all probably knew that anyway.

These are unwise words from the head of world football's ruling body - and the connotation of slavery will be distasteful to many, not just because the man and woman in the street see some of Blatter's "slaves" earning more than £100,000 a week.

It conjured up images of poor old Cristiano being held against his will be nasty Sir Alex, who will only pay him £100,000-a-week and drags him kicking and screaming to sign his latest multi-million pound endorsement.

And what have United's transfer dealings got to do with Blatter? Nothing.

We have to be cautious condemning Ronaldo's words. Yes, he did say Blatter was right on this issue, which was not clever in his current circumstances.

Cristiano Ronaldo

He did not, however, suggest that he regarded himself as a slave, even though that can understandably be read as the sub-plot behind his support for Fifa's top man, another manouevre to ensure his bandwagon to Madrid keeps rolling.

What it should do, though, is crystallise the thinking about Ronaldo's future inside Old Trafford.

Has he really acted like someone whose heart it still at United? Will he be the same brilliant Ronaldo if he is effectively forced to stay?

My answer to both of those questions comes firmly in the negative.

United should now disturb his convalescence and get straight answers out of someone who has been as elusive in clarifying his future as he was in evading defences last season.

He has played everyone like a priceless Stradivarius since the last penalty was taken in the Champions League final. It has cast a cloud over what should have been a summer of unrelenting triumph for United after winning the Premier League and Champions League.

My take on it is that United should let him have his move, while dredging every last penny out of Real Madrid and their president Ramon Calderon.

If United can prise £70m out of Real for Ronaldo, then that can easily be painted as a victory by Ferguson. It would actually provide the ultimate proof that football has finally gone mad and United will be the financial beneficiaries of the lunacy.

And here is a theory that has not been explored enough - the theory that United might actually survive and prosper without Ronaldo.

Old Trafford's walls will not crumble if Ronaldo leaves. They were champions before he arrived and they will be again after he leaves.

Ferguson is smart enough to make the most of the huge injection of money into his transfer fund, and wise enough to know a sulking Ronaldo hankering for The Bernabeu is not an asset worth having.

Ronaldo would be a loss to United - no-one would deny that - but his departure would not turn them from champions into also-rans.

Ferguson may feel losing Ronaldo after such a public fight to keep him would represent a loss of face - but £70m might make them feel just a little better.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Please just let the poor little slave leave - its heart breaking for us to see him in such pain and all the world should fight to end this slavery. Just think of all the millions of people who were removed from their homes and dragged to the other side of the world - many of them not surviving the journey - many of them never seeing family again. Do we want this to happen to Cristiano - I for one do not!!

    On the other hand - lets get rid of this horrible little oik!

  • Comment number 2.

    They should sell him, but for £120 million, not 70.

  • Comment number 3.

    I like your adoption of the attitude of the biter has been bitten, but there are a few fundamental differences here with the tiresome Ronaldo saga and United's pillaging of unfortunate teams outside the top four. I think those on the board at Goodison Park may not feel so hard done by in relation to United's relentless approach of Wayne Rooney in so far as that particular transfer has earned the Toffeemen more money than Wayne would ever have earned them if he had stayed. Incidentally weren't Newcastle the first club to approach Everton? Furthermore Ronaldo's only just signed a handsome new contract. Nobody forced him to do that. For £70 million, sell him, and let the likes of Rooney shine in his absence.

  • Comment number 4.

    give me 1 of these slave jobs, they sounds great.
    its a real kick in the teeth for the working class fans who go to old trafford every week who slave it out at their boring jobs.

  • Comment number 5.

    What really annoys me in this whole saga is Ronaldo's claims that United owe him a transfer. Rubbish. United picked him from obscurity at Sporting and have turned him into the best player in the world, not to mention one of the highest payed too, with Champions League, Premiership, and FA Cup winners medals. They owe him nothing. He owes them everything.

  • Comment number 6.

    i am an arsenal fan and do not hold much love for united.
    we all seem to forget that united are in a serious amount of debt and their owners are not likely to inject endless amounts of money like abramovitch has at chelsea withoug seeing a return onthe investment.
    united should turn around to madrid and say
    "fine, you want him? £85m. take it or leave it"
    madrid have said they are willing to pay anything to get him so make them!

    its not like united have never done the same thing!!!

  • Comment number 7.

    i rekcon the sooner he gos the better. Not only has he caused a tremendous amount of contriversy in his elusive plans to move from united - but as was seen again at the euros, hes not a world class player - not yet atleast. If united got 70 million for him theyd be laughing.

  • Comment number 8.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 9.

    To equipe do som...Newcastle were the first club to make a bid for Rooney - but there was only one place he was ever going.

    Newcastle could make a bid for Ronaldo if they wished. He wouldn't go.

  • Comment number 10.

    £120m - you must be joking - if they can get £70m for him, they need to do it, and asap - as soon as he announces officially that he definitely wants to leave then his price will start drifting down because United won't want to keep the player that wants to go.

    I can't stand Ferguson or Utd, but Ronaldo's behaviour to this club is disgusting! People forgave him after the Rooney incident, but he shows again and again what he's really made of. Repulsive little man - how dare me feel sorry for Ferguson and Utd who although they've given well and truly as good as they're getting, went a long way to making this player into what he is!

  • Comment number 11.

    Good Article Phil, I hope he leaves for a couple of reasons.

    1. It will give us a better chance of winning the league as Arbeloa said.


    2. It will be nice to see Utd get the same treatment as they've given other clubs over previous years as you say Phil.

  • Comment number 12.

    Ronaldo isn't stupid as some modern day footballers are classed as because I agree with what Phil said, Ronaldo is being very clever in playing the media. You are all being suckers for it. David Gill and SAF will know the truth. Also, United didn't fade out when Cantona left, we never faded out when Schmeichel left either, and the likes of Beckham, Keane, RVN ect. However, for the record, i believe Ronaldo will still be at Old Trafford come the end of the transfer window whether i like it or not.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Time for United to be rid of this ungratefull little player. No player is bigger than the club, and there are plenty who careers sank after leaving united (Butt, Beckam, Stam, Heinze etc. etc.). I disagree with the price tho - United should milk Madrid to the max and demand no less than 82 million! If Real can't pay they should go away.

  • Comment number 15.

    bingleyperson - I agree, he should be sold for a lot more than that with regards to his on field performances over the past two seasons. However, due to the fact that he wants to leave , the knockback regarding the complaint and the interference of Platini and Blatter have really not helped with his valuation. Calderon's attitude as well leaves a bitter taste in the mouth also. The fact that United should be 'pleased' to be involved in such a transfer? hmmmm, guess some of Franco's traits are still alive and kicking in Real Madrid today.

    At the end of the day other fans of Premier League clubs are probably (falsely) reveling in this transfer saga - but what they fail to realise is that many great players have played at Old Trafford and done more for the club than Ronaldo has. United have a very bright future - probably even more so without Ronaldo.

    Phil - Tapping up in football happens every day, although United have never shown the arrogance that Calderon has shown on a daily basis talking to Marca. It's getting quite tedious now that every day he has to comment on everything. I think United paid a fair price for near enough all of the player that they were suppose to have 'unsettled' - so I don't subscribe to your United double standards theory.

    Real Madrid could have signed Ronaldo from Lisbon, but they didn't, so they'll have to cough up whatever United ask - I think you could get £120Million for the player. The only problem is that the blimp sized ego Ronaldo has acquired - which indicates that he believes he is bigger than the club. No player is bigger than their club - so Ronaldo, just go.

  • Comment number 16.

    The great news is the boy has had complications with his surgery. So sell him to Madrid for 70 Million and let them see he how good he is for them on one foot.

  • Comment number 17.

    If I was Sir Alex I would sell Ronaldo now! He has become a nuisance and will not top the last season anyhow?!
    70 Million is stupid money and Sir Alex and his crew can guaranteed buy 3 top quality players for that kind of cash. That said squeeze Real Madrid out of as much as possible and laugh all the way to the bank!
    It will be sad if Ronaldo left the Premiership, although after a few games at the start of the season he will be in Spain and more or less forgotten in the top European League namely - The Premiership!
    Roll on the new season without a cry-baby!!

  • Comment number 18.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 19.

    As a Real Madrid fan, I would much prefer for CR to stay at United. Doubtless he is a very talented individual (whether the best in the World I leave to others to decide, if such a title makes any sense), but I think his transfer would spell trouble for Real.

    I thought Real Madrid had left behind the whole galactico approach to team building - how wrong I was - and we know where that ended up the first time they tried it - three years of big fat zeros.

    I suspect Cristiano, if he moves for a record breaking fee, has the kind of personality that will expect the team to work for him, rather than the other way round. If this is the case, there are players in the squad who will make his life a misery, and I dont think he can adapt to that. Better for all parties concerned (except perhaps the Glazers) if he stays in Manchester, but I fear he has pushed his luck too far and if the whole thing falls through he will not be welcomed back.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Cristiano Ronaldo will miss the start of the new season after undergoing complex surgery to remove the foot firmly jammed in his mouth."

    He'll be removing a foot from somewhere else if he carries on like this. And that really will be complex surgery...

    I've been defending Ronnie for two years, ever since the whole country blamed him for Rooney standing on Carvalho's childmaker. I've defended him all summer. I even defended him down the pub last weekend.

    I'm bored of defending him. Sick of defending somebody who doesn't deserve any respect whatsoever as a human being. Great footballer - horrible person.

    Blatter is so far out of order he could rival a Glastonbury portaloo.

    The only thing more ridiculous than Blatter's words are that Ronaldo agrees with him.

    Go to Spain Ronnie. Live your dream. Our team may be slightly weaker, but we'll all be much happier without your rubbish.

  • Comment number 21.

    Recent suggestions have been made by Platini that he is trying to address the level of debts in football, the focus clearly being pointed at certain premiership teams. In Madrid's attempt to sign Ronaldo I read somewhere that they would be taking out a loan from Santander to pay for the transfer. Where does this fit within the scheme of footballing debts? Platini seems to be backing Real Madrids interests in Ronaldo. I just can't understand the contradictions made at the top of the sports controlling bodies. Maybe past sportsmen shouldn't be elected into these positions? It does feel that there is becoming a predjudice against the premier league in general.

  • Comment number 22.

    Pretty simple really.

    No written transfer request from Ronaldo or no written bid from Real Madrid means no transfer therefore nothing to debate.

  • Comment number 23.

    To I said in the blog, we need to be a little careful because Ronaldo did not call himself "a slave."

    He was responding to questions about Blatter's remarks on "modern slavery.

    What Ronaldo has failed to do is make his intentions clear. He has been very vague about his future, creating the furore that has continued all summer.

    We have not had a clear "I want to stay" or a definitive "I want to go" - although we all suspect he wants out.

  • Comment number 24.

    I am Also an arsenal fan and don't car much for Man u, BUT!!!! I show respect where respect is due and Sir Alex has a lot of respect from me! So who does Ronaldo think he is? A.F stuck by him through the bust ups with Van Nistlerooy and then sold Van Nistlerooy (not all to do with the Ronaldo bust ups.) Sir A.F stuck by him when the whole country hated him after his ridiculous winking antics at the 06 world cup and he has always shown faith in the boy who could have been a professional diver and won gold in the olympics!!! and thi sis the thanks he gets, this is the price of loyalty? It's sickening!!!
    Ronaldo has done all he can do in England this is a fact but, he should have been a man and said he was thinking about leaving rather than publically commiting his future to United after the C.L Final and then going back on a statement he had made infront of the whole world!!! the question is

    Does anyone care about class in sport anymore? Because Ronaldo has not shown any class at all!!! Let the BOY go and fulfill his dreams. I only want class in the Premiership!

  • Comment number 25.

    Mr. McNulty, you have taken the words right out of my mouth, and I also agree with many of the comments above.

    I'm a Lifelong Manchester United fan, have loved watching Ronaldo play for us over the last few seasons and am thankful for his excellent contribution...

    ...but the way he has acted over this whole charade has been terrible. He's made it fairly clear he's had enough at Man U and wants to go. Personally, I think he should have kept his mouth shut and been a bit more professional about the whole thing, but what's done is done.

    Regarding Blatter's comments... what on EARTH is he doing making such a blatant comment on the private dealings of two clubs? KEEP YOUR NOSE OUT, MR. BLATTER! And "modern slavery"... WHAT?!?!? Did slaves voluntarily sign contracts that would make them international superstars and multi-millionaires? I THINK NOT. And don't people realise what a CONTRACT is? It's a legally-binding document... Isn't that the same kind of BINDING agreement we all enter when we buy a house, get a loan, sign up for a mobile phone, or whatever?

    In summary, I'm sad that it's all come to this, but I won't be sad to see Ronaldo go. If he doesn't want to play for us, fine... let him go. There's no benefit (apart from one of principle) in keeping a player NO player, as Ferguson has always made clear, is bigger than Manchester United, so I say we put a fat price in front of Real Madrid (somewhere in the region of 70 to 80 million pounds), tell them to get their wallets out, and the boy can go live his dream.

    Off you go, Ronny. It was nice while it lasted, but you're not the be all and end all. Life will go on without you, son.

  • Comment number 26.

    "This is for United fans to debate..."


    A prime, if unrequired, example of the concept of arrogance at Old Trafford being not exclusively a player trait.

    The ridiculously emotive 'slave' talk is both a huge insult to any descendants of slaves and yet not untypical of Blatter.

    Having said that Ronaldo is showing himself to be equally moronic in agreeing with him. Are Portugal making a bid for The World Cup?

  • Comment number 27.

    As a Man Utd fan, it would be sad to see him leave. However, again as a fan I don't want to see a player at the club who does not want to be there.

    Because another player, Ronaldinho, did not really want to join United we bought CR.

    He should be sold and we should look for further young talent to replace him, established players of that calibre no longer seem to have any club loyalty due to the huge financial gains they get and the interference of agents whose pockets will swell with each transfer or signing.

    A shame but that's the business that football now masquerades as.

    Same feelings I had for Heinze last year, great player but obviously had no great love for the club. A shame but we must not be so naive and hanker for the old days. I wonder how much he has had to do with this saga being such a close friend of CR's.

    It would be nice to have this over and settle in for what I hope will be a great season for Utd where Rooney and Tevez will hopefully have more of a scoring input with team.

  • Comment number 28.

    Does anyone else find it unbelievable and reprehensible that the President of FIFA could refer to a Footballer like Ronaldo as a "modern day slave"?! This is both shameful and ridiculous. Ronaldo is under a FIFA-approved contract that he signed. Does anyone else agree that this should mean something? Both FIFA and UEFA have shown there disdain towards the huge sucess of the Premier League teams in Europe this year. By tacitly supporting the Ronaldo move to Real Madrid and by calling for a limit on the number of foreignors allowed per team, FIFA and UEFA are unabashadly trying to dampen the potency and success of the elite UK clubs.

  • Comment number 29.

    Take the £70 million and pack him off to the Bernabeu. We could use that money to stock up our squad, probably a striker (Villa/Huntelaar) and a right back (Richards/Lahm). Sure we'll miss the 'slave' if he does leave but Fergie has shown in the past that Man Utd have never been a one man club. Just like Keane,Beckham and RVN were transferred off, Ronaldo's departure will also be compensated with other players. Plus we've got players like Nani and Anderson who I'm sure will come on leaps and bounds this season.

  • Comment number 30.

    I agree that he has outstayed his welcome. Take a huge whack of cash of Real, and let him leave.
    I guarantee that, whatever team he is playing for, this will not be another season like the last.
    Who wants to see him suffer in poverty (cant expect anyone to survive on his slave wages) and be mistreated and brutally abused under the EPL slavery laws !!!
    Take pity on him, and save him from the cruel and unusual punishment he has had to endure for so long !!

  • Comment number 31.

    Sepp does it again, winds everyone in England up needlessly! The man is a buffoon. How did he get the job?

    As for Ronaldo, you can slightly forgive him (just) because he is young and closeted from reality.

    But you are right to conclude Ronnie is leaving, now just settle the terms and lets all move on.

    It's getting silly now.

  • Comment number 32.

    My problem isn't with Real Madrid but with Ronaldo. he is loving the attention, which just shows that he has got no respect for anyone.

    I think that United would be better of without him but I dont think Sir Alex will wont to lose what has now become a bit of a battle with Ronaldo, Madrid and now FIFA.

  • Comment number 33.

    Ronaldo was not "plucked from obscuity" from Sporting Lisbon, he had an outstanding season in Portugal the previous year as a 17 year old.
    He even tore Man Utd apart in a pre-season friendly while at Sporting.
    Most big clubs were eyeing him up , but Utd were lucky that Queroz had strong connections with Sporting which secured the deal ahead of all the rivals.

    In my opinion Man Utd should sell him to Real Madrid, I honestly dont think they will miss him. Tevez and Rooney were also playing well, if not as well as Ronaldo last year.

    Also as we saw in Euro 2008 there are many excellent players out there for a much cheaper price. I am sure with the money for Ronaldo Utd could buy 3 replacements as good.

  • Comment number 34.

    What I find interesting is that Blatter raised this notion of players being held against their will when it concerned a player leaving England. He didn't condemn Aston Villa for holding up Gareth Barry's transfer.

    I wonder why that was? Oh, I know why because the beneficiary would have been an English club, and far be it from FIFA to help any English team.

    Real Madrid are the golden team of FIFA and UEFA and if it happens to be at the expense of an English team, those institutions will back the Spaniards to the hilt.

    Surely, I can't be the only one who thinks there is some sort of prejudice here?

  • Comment number 35.

    The pain and suffering endured by Ronaldo is too awful to witness. If he were an animal he would have been put down by now. Please someone fetch me a rifle...

    Yet I agree with Blatter, Ronaldo is a slave... but only to his own ego.

  • Comment number 36.


    What cut will you get from the transfer fee from Real as a result of this "neutral BBC" advice?

  • Comment number 37.

    70 Million

    The would get them

    Benzema 20 mill

    Quaresma 16 mill

    Daniel Alves 20 mill

    Downing maybe? Lennon?

  • Comment number 38.

    To know what the great sadness of this is?

    It is the fact that a player who has been brilliant for United, once Ferguson brought his footballing excesses under control, will leave with his reputation tarnished.

    Ronaldo could have been an Old Trafford legend, but even if he stays he will now be treated with some suspicion by supporters who should offer him unconditional adoration.

    Men like David Beckham, Jaap Stam and Ruud van Nistelrooy would - in my opinion - be given a great reception if they came back to Old Trafford in future.

    Do you think the same would apply to Ronaldo? I don't.

  • Comment number 39.

    I dont support Man Utd, but if any player wants to leave you have to let them go, he joined man utd in 2003, thats 5 YEARS !! great service, and now alot of manU fans are having a go at him for wanting to try something new, he's been fantastic for you so appreciate his long service, and now he's getting a hard time about having ambitions, if torres played 5 great years for liverpool then joined real madrid, i'd say thanks and good luck, and the slave comment it true... why would you want to force a player to stay when he obviously wants a new challenge?

  • Comment number 40.

    Phil, you've gotta use spell check. It drives me mad when there is bad misspelling in an article.

  • Comment number 41.

    'Jimmy' McNulty's blog is spot on. Manchester United is far bigger than any one individual, even the elusive Ronaldo. Ferguson should show his customary ruthlessness and sell CR for the highest price he can get, then carry on without him. As 'Jimmy' says, United were champions before Ronaldo arrived and they'll be champions after he's gone.

  • Comment number 42.

    23. At 11:44am on 11 Jul 2008, Phil McNulty - BBC Sport wrote:
    To I said in the blog, we need to be a little careful because Ronaldo did not call himself "a slave."

    He was responding to questions about Blatter's remarks on "modern slavery.

    What Ronaldo has failed to do is make his intentions clear. He has been very vague about his future, creating the furore that has continued all summer.

    We have not had a clear "I want to stay" or a definitive "I want to go" - although we all suspect he wants out.

    I think the reason he hasn't given a definitive answer is because he likes the speculation and likes people talking about him as it does his ego a world of good.

  • Comment number 43.

    Oh the poor delicate slave, my heart goes out to such a person that is held by his own signature. He signed the deal to better himself at a club that seems to drag the best out of every player it signs. Maybe just maybe he will not be the player he has been without the rest of the squad of Man utd around him helping him look good. Let Sir Alex be upset and play along with it right up to the highest amount they can get for him and maybe just maybe Sir Alex would be able to sign some decent English players and bring them on. I'll bet Ronaldo will not be the same player once he leaves and will turn out to be a flop,after all it was the rest of Utd players that fed him the balls that made him look good.
    Bye Bye spoilt slave and maybe one day Rooney can get his own back playing against him, revenge is sweet Rooney.

  • Comment number 44.

    i don1t know why anyone listens to the idiot blatter,everyone must know that this guys hates anything to do with english for that utd player well i hate man u but they should tell him to go,

  • Comment number 45.

    will ronaldo be the next henry ?

  • Comment number 46.

    Good article Phil.

    It think you are right to say that Man U, or specifically Fergie, should get hold of Ronaldo and get him to publicly, and clearly, state his position.

    However, do you think Man U are afraid of the answer they will get from Ronaldo? Do you think Fergie is playing a game to flush out Ronaldo and Real Madrid or is he just being stubborn because he doesn't like having done to him what he has done to others?

    The situation is getting silly and ultimately no-one will come out of this with much credit, only money. Still, why should that surprise me.

    Finally, can you avoid all references and links to the Champions League Final please. Still a sore point for me. :-(

  • Comment number 47.

    I'd personally take £50m plus Sergio Ramos for him.

    Then in a couple of years sell Ramos back to them for £50m plus Robinho.

    Then in a couple of years... you get the picture...

  • Comment number 48.

    I find the Ronaldo situation similar to the Gareth Barry one. We all know they are going to end up at new clubs before the new season kicks off. I just hope it happens sooner rather than later as I'm sick of reading about it to be honest.

  • Comment number 49.

    I am a United fan, and I am a huge fan of Ronaldo, but I say I say sell him,
    no one is bigger than the team. If he wants to go let him

  • Comment number 50.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 51.

    Can't believe this. I am actually feeling some sympathy for United fans over this nonsense. Why should some overpaid, over-rated primadona hold them to ransom after they welcomed him back following the Rooney incident? Does he think he's bigger than the club? Sell, sell, sell and good riddance. One less diving oik in the Premier next season....and Messi is a far better player anyway.

  • Comment number 52.

    ro32xx - Look at Maldini, Baresi, Giggs or even your own Ian Callaghan stayed at one club for many years and have been successful - I don't see 5 years as being an excessive time for someone to be at a club.

    United were in a transition period when he signed along with the disappointing Bellion, Kleberson and Djemba Djemba and he took time to adapt to the Premier League and Fergie, as Phil mentioned, needed to control that extraordinary talent that was more about individualism than the team. He came on leaps and bounds, providing a superb cross for VanNistelrooy in the 4-3 victory over Everton. My point being is that United invested time and effort into the player, and yes I agree he quite clearly doesn't want to be there - but maybe he should have though about that before signing a £120,000 a week deal, and therefore aren't under any obligation (as much as it pains Platini and Blatter to see English clubs do well in Europe) to sell the player - although I'm quite excited by the sale as I want to see who we will bring in.

  • Comment number 53.

    Completley agree with you Man UTD deserve this treatment for once. Man U fans always say there transfers have been carreid out respectfully and different to this. But they Have not. Hargreaves Saha and Rooney but to name a few. Ronaldo is an idiot aswell so he should feel at home at UTD. Man UTD should sell him they will certainly get over 50 million and no player (except Gerrard and Torres of course) is worth that.

  • Comment number 54.

    The "loss of face" issue is the key thing for me. As a United fan, my respect for Ronaldo has declined so much that I no longer want him to play for the club, despite his staggering ability as a footballer. I simply can't imagine singing his name next season. I don't begrudge him his dream of playing for Madrid, but the whole thing could have been handled with so much more dignity. Please Fergie; take the money, paint it as a victory, and lets move on.

  • Comment number 55.

    Scary! Phil, did you ever think that you would grow-up to become 'the voice of reason'?
    It is about time that football took a long hard look at itself; starting at the grass-roots and going all the way to the top.
    As for Sepp Blatter, his FIFA and UEFA cronies; what is to be said that hasn't already been said?
    There are far too many men in this beautiful game that shouldn't be allowed anyway near it. These are the men who are making it difficult to enjoy supporting your team and simply enjoying football. It's our game, financed for the most part by football supporters; so let''s get ready to grumble - better still - let's get proactive.

  • Comment number 56.

    If he wants to go, let him go. United should take the money and invest it in another five potential world beaters.

    I think the boy is seriously deluded if he thinks a move from the reigning European champions to a team which seems to favour personal glories over collective ones, will enhance his career.

    One can only hope that United meet Real next season and they remind Ronaldo of what he left behind.

  • Comment number 57.

    Football has gone mad, surely there must be some arbitration regarding player contracts. Is it time to do away with transfers and fees and leave it down to the players themselves to tout there abilities, adhering to their contract playing for a set period then either re-negotiate or move on or simply not playing at all, or will this see these eliteist morons wages spiral out of control, further out of touch with the real world than they are already.
    United should get rid of Ronaldo, the sulking fool doesn't appreciate his position in life, but this will surely herald the end of the players contract as we know it. FIFA should enforce the completion of player contracts, not condem them. Football has gone mad.

  • Comment number 58.

    I, for one, am sick of Christiano Ronaldo winging

    This whole situation smacks of this exact time two years ago, when the fancy-dan set out on a personal mission to get Wayne Rooney sent off in World Cup 2006. There wasn't much club loyalty on display that day!

    He tried to engineer a move away then, and is doing the exact same thing now. He will never be a team player, and will always look to bask in his own glory rather than that of his team as a whole

    I am no fan of United, but his treatment of the club and the manager that made him a superstar is shameful.

    If I was Sir Alex, i would send him on his way, there surely can be no space in the Manchester United squad for such a disruptive influence. Take the £100m from Real and invest it in someone who shows some passion for the badge on the shirt!

  • Comment number 59.

    To are right to say Ronaldo was not plucked from obscurity. He was already a star in the making at Sporting Lisbon, as United's willingness to pay such a large fee proved.

    But there can be no argument that he has been nurtured by, and matured under, Ferguson.

    Ronaldo was too much of a show pony, too fond of the tricks, flicks and step-overs, when he first came to Old Trafford.

    He still does the tricks, but there is an end product. Lots of it.

    The natural gifts were there, but Ferguson has shaped them into the world-class talent we see today.

  • Comment number 60.

    I think it is a dangerous precedent to set. Consider a few years down the line Nani decides he wants to follow his countryman to spain. He may figure that the same actions would get him the same result.

    So despite agreeing that he should be fired out for as much cash as possible it is still a bad move. Since he can't be kept in the reserves,(it would cost united big if he could get out of his contract for free) there is no real alternative.

    The only thing is if he could be made go to Barca for less money just to screw over Madrid.

    For once I feel sorry for Utd fans, strange feeling for me. But the same thing is happening with Adebayor and it ain't nice.

  • Comment number 61.

    Much as I dislike Blatter's analogy and as much as CR7 is being a plonker, I think he should be sold now. United won't collapse because he's gone. Nani is virtually at the same stage of development as Ronaldo 3 seasons ago. He may not be the finished article yet, but I think he can provide the right wing outlet we need given time.

    If Ronaldo does stay, that's good, but if not; someone else will take the shirt and we move on as always. And the transfer fund will be £70m up. Nani won't get 42 goals for us, but he may get 10, and a new top drawer striker could expect to get 30 in this team right now.

  • Comment number 62.

    Sell Ronaldo for £70 million and buy Messi for £50 million and sign Aguero with the other £20 milion, problem solved.

  • Comment number 63.

    Well said about how much Real should pay for Ronaldo. Personally, I don't think he is worth that much - £70M, you're joking. A critical look at all matches he had featured in shows clearly that he is not a big performer on the bigger stages. He runs around the defence of weak teams. On the big stages he is non-exitent. I won't even pay £35M for him.

  • Comment number 64.

    Surely Mr Blatter should be encoraging Ronaldo to move back to a Portugese club given his views on foreigners in domestic leagues?!?

    Surely for FIFA, old Sepp has now well and truly overstepped the mark?? His anti English sentiment is so thinly veiled it's not true. United should lobby FIFA for his removal from office. Then we can put to bed the ridiculous (and illegal) rule on restricting foreign players.

  • Comment number 65.

    Phil - the 'no end product' and 'one trick pony' remarks were over hyped. Ronaldo was a mere boy who needed to improve and expand his game. United invested in potential rather than the finished article. Back in 2003, United were far more rigid in their tactical setup. The versatility that United now have up top allows Ronaldo to venture into more space due to the movement of the 'front four'.

  • Comment number 66.

    yo [football-crazy-dude] yeah i get you're point 5 years is not excessive, and he was the king of stepovers for the first 2 years, his last 2 seasons were the most productive and he's got manU to thank for the improvments, on the contract signed..... i think i'd find i hard to turn down an offer that much, and he always new the worst that could happen would be a great club comes in and offers him even more, dont know who else could fill his gap, nobody really, there are so little midfielders who score like him, i think you should get a goal machine, not torres please :)

  • Comment number 67.

    yeah am i united fan and everything. Love Ronaldo and that, but if he wants to go to Madrid an ruin his carrear just like Beckham did. Fair do's, get the money; around 80m or sumat like that and buy a few players such as a new right back, striker and goalkeeper. such as micah richards, huntelarr and igor akinfeev. Then im more than happy an most of the Man u fans will be aswell!
    who agrees with me?

  • Comment number 68.

    Fergie said that he wants to buy only one player - i bet he meant the replacement for ronaldo!

    he knows already that ronaldo will leave, and i think it could be good for united if their "star-player" will leave... thats a huge chance for the likes of rooney, tevez etc...

    as a replacement i would love to see bentley, lennon or benzema arriving at OT (maybe SAF decides to buy two of them?)...

    by the way: please sell nani as well...

  • Comment number 69.

    It would appear obivous to all now that Ronaldo does not want to play for Man Utd any more. We should sell him now while he is at the top of his worth. Big names have left before ......and the team lives on. Nobody is bigger than the club. Alex Ferguson has been astute over the last few years in pinpointing the right players (with the exception of Veron) and £70 million would buy a lot of talent. The only danger would be setting a precedent allowing other players to think that signing a contract means nothing and they can leave whenever they want.

  • Comment number 70.

    Take the money and run. He showed exactly what he's about when Portugal got knocked out of Euro2008 - having been made captain he simply carried on with his selfish and petulant approach to the game, leaving it to Deco (not even born Portuguese) to try and bring his team back into it. He's simply not a team player.

  • Comment number 71.


  • Comment number 72.

    Completely - yes completely agree with this post. There is a first, Phil

    Blatter should keep his nose out of this though his comments are indicative of the way those at top end of the game have lost all semblance of reality.
    Shed no tears for United as they have done it to others and are so arrogant to not recognise this.
    They will be better of (under these circumstances) without him as him staying will only impact team spirit
    £70m is a stupid price - double his actual worth.

  • Comment number 73.

    I am annoyed that so many people have picked up on the word "slave". I should think everybody has heard or used the phrase "wage slave". Without actually reading what Blatter said, I would presume this was the intended context. It probably, also, refers to the fact that players have to sign contracts for years, and that the average person does not have to make that commitment. Yes, it does work both ways but it is still a commitment.
    What I think Blatter is really attempting to do, is decrease the power of the richest clubs, which just happen to be English. He doesn't want one country to dominate, especially the ECL. Like he tried with his foreigners rule.
    Finally, nobody should think Blatter is an idiot!

  • Comment number 74.

    Let the poor "slave" traitor go,if he cannot understand what united has done for him.

    we have already seen what he is without united in euro.

  • Comment number 75.

    Ronaldo says that it is his dream to play for Real - but not that much of a dream that he has officially asked for a transfer.

    That will cost him and his advisors lots of money so if he is leaving anyway - make him put in a transfer request.

  • Comment number 76.

    I totally see Blatter's point, but he used completely the wrong terminology. "Slave" is wrong.

    However, I agree with his trying to get football players to work under the same kind of terms as ordinary workers. i.e - you sign a contract with an employer and have a notice period should you choose to move elsewhere, perhaps with a spell of 'gardening leave' attached before you begin working for a new employer. I think transfer fees should be scrapped entirely.

  • Comment number 77.

    Man Utd fans shouldnt be surprised at this behavior from Ronaldo after what happened in the world cup yet they were happy to chant his name ...until now anyway.

  • Comment number 78.

    Don't we all wish for the old times? Where is the loyalty in football anymore! So Blatter reckons Ronaldo is a slave, He's a card, is that blatter. Can i be a slave for £100.000 a week?!? The young children out there whom worship Ronaldo, what message does this give them? Its a disgusting way to act, he's acting like a spoilt child. Its a slap in the face to all the young children who cherish there prized utd shirts with his name and number on it. Above all, Ronaldo thinks about one thing....Ronaldo!! Go now Ronaldo, Leave the club i love and pursue "your dream" If things go sour will "your dream" then be AC milan!?! Cantona, Best, Law,Charlton,Keane,Foulkes,Stiles will always be legends to us but you young man never will!!!

  • Comment number 79.

    At the end of the day I would like to see Utd do the same thing as My club Villa should do with Gareth Barry. Get a totally rediculous amount of money 70 million and 17 million respectively otherwise let them languish in the reserve team. I know this is completely unrealistic given the players wages but it would show a clear message to the football world that certain clubs are not to be messed with.

  • Comment number 80.

    Great article. Can;t believe that Blatter is still in his job after so many ill judged remarks over the years, but can't say my heart bleeds for United.

  • Comment number 81.

    I'm a Man Utd fan and it sickens to me that Ronaldo thinks of himself as a Slave. Ronaldo you should have reality check and come work in an office for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week slaving over a computer earning a quarter a year of what you earn in a week. To be honest, he has become too big for his boots at United since the end of the season, and they should sell him, but for at least £100 million to Real. I can't see him gaining more at Real than at Man Utd as Man Utd are a more successful club than Real Madrid in my eyes.

  • Comment number 82.

    I found Blatter's comments re "modern slavery" totally distasteful and also send out a terrible message to players who are under contract.

    Having said that I believe if the player wants to go let him and get as much dosh as possible.

  • Comment number 83.

    Post 22 is the best of the day.

    I think ultimately it wouldnt be in Man Utd's best interests to keep Ronaldo now and I cant understand the United fans praying for him to stay - The bloke obviously wants to leave United so no point in keeping him.

    However, United should just hold a simple press conference and play it with a straight bat...

    "We haven't had an offer from Real Madrid and Ronaldo hasnt asked for transfer... we don't understand what all the fuss is about!?"

  • Comment number 84.

    Agree with many comments here and feel it's right for Ronaldo to go.

    One point I feel is worth mentioning is I personally don't believe Ronaldo will make Real a better team. Over the years Real have made an unfortunate habit of signing superstars who turn into misfits, and I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be more of the same.

    Of Madrid's astronomical signings, only Zidane has truly shone over the last few years and he was a playmaker, which Ronaldo isn't.

    Real would have been better advised to focus on someone like Villa or Arshavin - in fact they could have got both for the price of one Ronaldo, and far better value.

    Ronaldo was brilliant at United - but do Madrid have a Scholes or a Rooney? They don't.

  • Comment number 85.

    Ronaldo should stay!!!

    But omegaSoodaBondai btw Daniel Alves just signed for Barca fo £23million so I don't think he is coming to England

  • Comment number 86.

    Blatter obviously doesnt understand how football works. If contracts are to be meaningless then clubs should also be allowed to let players go at short notice. The players should have less security too. What happens when a player gets injured and the club says thats yer lot we will stop paying you next month?

  • Comment number 87.

    Quite frankly, Blatter is an idiot and it is embarrassing that this man is the figurehead for world football.

    Not only is the 'slavery' statement noxious itself, it is an insult to all those who suffered (and continue to suffer) under human trafficking and genuine slavery.

    In any walk of life one should be careful of drawing such comparisons, but it is absurd to suggest that the modern footballer, who enjoys more riches and privileges than most could ever dream of, is akin to a slave.


  • Comment number 88.

    Utd season ticket holder perspective. Good article Phil. Although I have to say its quite funny reading in yours and others comments how you justify your loathing of united like "hate man utd but.." or hate Ferguson but.." before backing the clubs stance on this.
    However moving on basically my view is he should go but it was only yesterday I got bit irate yesterday after he backed that wally Blatter's ridiculous comments. He didnt need to do that. he clearly wants to go, Fergie, Glazer et al are digging their heels in. He scored a third of our goals last year so he would be a massive miss and although this makes a further folly of the contracts situation I think he just fancies the social there ie. sunny madrid compared to rainy manchester (even though of course we all know manc is much more magnificent!) Him sitting in the stands wont help our boys on the pitch at all next season. Get the money now I say although dont get too excited utd fans that money will just go further towards paying off the debts! thanks Malc.

  • Comment number 89.

    Mr McNulty
    For once I agree with your conclusion. More importantly SAF may not. ManU played a fluent attacking game this last season and it culminated in a tight but deserved title win. Ronaldo was obviously critical to that success and I think they may not have won it without him, despite the trojan work of Tevez, Rooney Rio et al. The real point is that he is now out for 3 months, would Real buy him for an massive sum while there is a question about his fitness? (Maybe Blatter will extend the window for him). This has a way to go yet. Most football fans read the body language of the game and it seems to be pretty evident from comments that the perceived wisdom is that Ronaldo is not a team player, nor does he work his socks off ala Tevez etc. In short while he is admired for his skill he is not loved by fans, maybe not even by ManU fans. Maybe that is part of his problem at ManU.
    Key question for SAF is can they beat Chelsea without Ronaldo, or SAF got a contingency plan already in place as part of his 'what if' scenarios. This could be a milestone in that all the other 'names' to leave left with SAF's approval.

  • Comment number 90.

    it's my understanding that there's no 'sympathy' for united because they had unsettled those at goodison park, white hart lane, villa park, philips stadion.... ok, so why did those very people not report united? madrid are out of order, so united report them. it's barely united's fault that the aforementioned didn't do the same; the option was there and to use that as a reason to somehow dilute madrid's approach is quite bizzare.

  • Comment number 91.

    As a Manchester United supporter of long standing, it pains me to see what is happening, especially to see it coming from a player we took as a callous youth, and helped develop into the talent he undoubtedly is today.

    My course of action when subjected to the kind of attacks and comments coming from Calderon, Blatter, Platini and now Ronadlo himself, is to come our fighting.

    I would never sell Ronaldo, especially not to Real Madrid because this would only reinforce their over inflated view of their importance. I would not play him either, he signed a 5 year contract less than 1 year ago, he wasn't a slave then was he?

    No I'd let him rot in the stands, let him watch his career disappear over the horizon as he misses at least 2 World Cups and Euro 2010.

  • Comment number 92.

    Aww bless, sell the arrogant idiot. Lets see how the manure cope with no recognised strikers. Relegation perhaps?

  • Comment number 93.

    Let the kid go, someone said that it would help Rooney shine, and I could not agree more! I think 5 years is enough for both Ronaldo and MU, they are both winners, if he stays they both will Lose, its simple as this. I know Ferguson thought he found his golden pot, to explore and help him wining more Champins leagues, but life is not always what we wish. Mourinho when won in Porto in 3 years that he stayed there he thought it would be easy at Chelsea with the money and player. but as I said life is not always what we want, we need to consider that we not leave in this world alone and in close doors

  • Comment number 94.

    Well world class footballers are now classed as slaves. Hes 23 and not even reached his best yet i would say he still has a lot to learn. He earns shed loads of money and is highly valued by man united and their fans. To me thats not the way a slave would be treated. if he was 27 and getting on i would see why there would be a fuss but hes not. Man United are the best club in Europe and thats a fact. He would in my opinion do a Beckham he wont stand out for long in a team full of stars. I cant see why he needs to move but if he did i think the premier league would be in major trouble. it would loose its best league in the world tag because all the great players would go because clubs wouldn't be able to stop them from leaving.

  • Comment number 95.

    Football is turning into a joke.

    Get players on to 1 or 2 year contracts with an agreed price that has to be paid to the club at the end by the next club to sign them. This allows players more freedom and clubs to not get screwed over.

    Tell me if i am biased, but have Man utd not just bid for players, had these bids accepted and signed them? I can't remember Alex Ferguson repeatedly going to the press saying that he wants to sign someone when the club they play for are saying that they are not for sale.

    I do belive players should have freedom, but not if you are willing to sign a 5 year contract, i suppose a 5 year deal gives you and your agent a bigger singing on bonus though.

    Bye ronaldo, its been good while it lasted but your not man utd, and noone is bigger than the club they play for.

  • Comment number 96.

    What seems to be ignored in this whole saga is that Sepp Blatter, Fifa President, has effectively been aiding Real Madrid to "tap up" a contracted player.
    He has been helping Real Madrid put pressure on Manchester United to let Ronaldo go and he helped add power to a high profile players' demands.

    Why is Blatter not being brought to book about this?
    To use an analogy, surely this is similar to a UK politician aiding illegal arms sales to the profit of British arms companies?

    I have no love for Man Utd and they can be accused of similar dealings to Real but I am more concerned by Sepp Blatters involvement. What next? He gets involved in Lampards transfer to Inter?

  • Comment number 97.

    He signed the contract. If he didn't want to be there he shouldn't have signed it. He's not a slave: he's a contract breaker. He has no honour.

  • Comment number 98.

    As a fan for more years than i care to mention, I've seen players go for more money every year. First time £100,00 for a player then £1,000,000 now 10s millions. I think the problem is that all the money in football is conectrtated in Champions League elite and even in that League the elite club is now Real Madrid.

  • Comment number 99.

    So what does a club get when they pay millions for a player?Ronaldo has signed a contract and should stick to it, like in any other job. If you give the players MORE freedom, then the wages will spiral even more out of control. Blatter is out of order making a comment like that, especially as he has ties with Real Madrid

  • Comment number 100.

    Flog the slave! And before he's flogged give him 50 lashes! Make that 100. What the hell, throw in a keel-hauling as well. These celebrity slaves are giving real slavery a good name.


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