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Man Utd right to sell Ronaldo

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Phil McNulty | 09:56 UK time, Thursday, 11 June 2009

Sir Alex Ferguson once claimed he would never sell Real Madrid a virus let alone Cristiano Ronaldo - but a cheque for £80m holds unique powers of persuasion for Manchester United and their manager.

Ferguson infamously put down Real's pursuit of Ronaldo last summer with the words: "Do you think I would get into a contract with that mob? Absolutely no chance."

And yet Ferguson, who has never turned his back on a tough choice and made it his mission to keep Ronaldo from The Bernabeu the last time Real came calling, is unlikely to have lingered long in striking a deal with "that mob" this time.

Ferguson has a sure touch when it comes to sensing a player's era is over at Old Trafford, and he will have detected all the vital signs from Ronaldo last season that it was time to part.

Real's world record bid will ease any pain of separation - and makes this the right deal at the right time for Ferguson and United.

Ferguson will have played his full part in the decision to finally sell Ronaldo. A deal of this magnitude would not have been done without the great Old Trafford dictator's say-so.

He has nurtured and developed Ronaldo since he signed from Sporting Lisbon in a £12.24m deal in August 2003 - transforming a teenage show pony into the finished article and arguably the finest footballer of his generation.

But Manchester United will always be bigger than Ronaldo and the prospect of a tedious annual summer circus involving Real Madrid and the Portuguese winger means it is now time to move on.

Ferguson talked Ronaldo down from a move to Spain 12 months ago, but United's manager could not afford to spend huge swathes of every close season persuading a player - no matter how vital - to stay at Old Trafford.

Cristiano Ronaldo

He got another season and another title out of Ronaldo. Now is the time to cash in, with United pointing the finger in the player's direction by making it clear that he had "again expressed his desire to leave."

And Ferguson will also have been aware that Ronaldo's status among United's fans, at an all-time high after the 2008 Champions League win against Chelsea, had been damaged by his apparent desire to join Real after that triumph.

Ronaldo-watching was an intriguing experience for those of us who attended Old Trafford on a regular basis last season. The affection was never unconditional and even that was diminished - there was a suspicion that he only remained at Old Trafford on sufferance.

This is not to demonise Ronaldo, who still played his part as United secured their third Premier League title in succession and reached the Champions League final once more, but he was not the same influence and was betrayed by his obvious body language.

Ronaldo was too often prone to the pout, waving his arms impatiently when team-mates did not serve his needs. He even indulged in the hazardous occupation of a public show of dissent when he was, with every justification, substituted by Ferguson against Manchester City at Old Trafford late last season.

And Old Trafford was not slow to show its discontent on these occasions. Ronaldo was regarded as a lavishly-gifted drama queen by many supporters and the groans told the story. Greater love was reserved for Carlos Tevez, not as naturally talented but more willing to chase the lost cause. This was afforded greater appreciation.

Ronaldo's posturing did not paint him as a team player, and this is central to all of Ferguson's work. He now has £80m to compensate for his departure and may just have a happier, more settled, dressing room as he plots how to spend his new noney.

This is a deal that suits all parties. Real land another galactico, capping a reasonable week for additions to their squad by adding Ronaldo to Kaka's arrival, while United get a huge return on their initial investment as Ronaldo gets the move he has craved.

The timing is also to United's liking. No long-drawn out discussions - a quick deal that allows Ferguson time and space to seek out re-inforcements, a process that has no doubt already started.

Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Cristiano Ronaldo

It would be unfair, in the extreme, however, to simply wave Ronaldo on his way by reviving memories of his petulance while ignoring the brilliance he has delivered on a regular basis in the last six years.

United have made an almost unthinkable profit on that initial deal, but no-one must ever deny that he has given wonderful value to them in turn - especially in 2008, when he was peerless in scoring 42 goals.

The Premier League and its packed galleries may not have warmed to Ronaldo's footballing personality, but it is beyond question that he has sprinkled golddust over the domestic game in recent seasons. It is a league that will be lessened by his leaving.

It is sad, in many ways, that his departure will not be mourned in many quarters, but he has brought this upon himself with the very obvious arrogance and self-confidence that is so often the hallmark of the great player.

Ferguson's thoughts will now turn to replacing Ronaldo. And the names in the frame are immediately obvious, with Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery, Lyon striker Karim Benzema and Wigan Athletic's Antonio Valencia potential targets.

Old Trafford may even get its wish to have Tevez on a permanent basis, while the absence of Ronaldo may allow a crucial tactical adjustment with Rooney moving into a more central, influential, role.

Ronaldo's impending relocation to Madrid may just raise expectations at Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal - but Ferguson is the master of renewal and this deal would not have been signed off if the manager felt this would seriously weaken United's search for silverware.

It will be intriguing to witness how Ronaldo is received in Spain. He is unlikely to be any more popular there than he was here. Barcelona's fans whistled and jeered the mere appearance of his face on the giant screens before the Champions League final in Rome - this simply for expressing a desire to play for arch-rivals Real Madrid.

Ironically, Barcelona's demolition of United on that balmy night appears to have been the final poke in the eye Real required to embark on another scorched earth transfer policy.

Ronaldo is the latest element in returning Real president Florentino Perez's attempt to create a new group of galacticos, but he is not guaranteed success on the highest stage by simply making this move.

Real may have a devastating array of attacking weaponry, but Perez might have been better employed strengthening in defence as his top priority. The roof might be going on before the foundations are in place.

For Ferguson, United's post-Ronaldo era will start the day he is paraded at The Bernabeu - with thanks for his efforts but without regrets at his departure.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Im actually glad to see him go, yes he's a great player, but hia antics are 2nd to none, diving play acting when tackled and then when he gets the same treament applied to him he cant handle it.

    good bye

  • Comment number 2.

    This is just greeedy disgusting and vulgar.

    I'm sure the Barca fans are happy to pay for this.

  • Comment number 3.

    As a neutral I'll be sad to see him go as he has undoubtable talent, but I stand by my belief no player is bigger than the club and Sir Alex could do worse than to go and spend that money on players who DO want to play for his club.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good blog.

    I don't blame Ronaldo for leaving. He's giving them everything, won everything it was possible to and left them in a better position than they were when he came. Now his mission will be to do it for Real, which i can't see happening. Yes, he'll score goals but it'll take a while for Real to be up there again and i doubt Ronaldo will have the patience he had when he was 18. I can see him leaving in 2 years and becoming the world's most hated man after he joins Barca.

  • Comment number 5.

    cant decide if this would be a good thing or a bad thing for the premier league. On the one hand (as a liverpool fan) it would be great to finally see the back of him. Hes so good it is a bit annoying. On the other hand, Spain would have some of the best players in the world should he go. They already have the whole barcelona squad, plus kaka et al, not to mention players like villa and silva. La liga would maybe be considered the best league in the world.

    I still think Florentino Perez is starting to ruin football (along with M?an city and Chelsea). When Roman Abramovic started buying in players he was slaughtered for it, Manchester City are starting to be hated by the rest of the clubs because of there spending power. Yet Perez is in his second stint as presedent of Real and doesnt get much stick for it. I might be wrong but that cant be right. hmmm....

  • Comment number 6.

    I suspect United will suffer badly without him. I think next season was already looking like it was going to be a more competitive season with Chelsea finishing far stronger than United, and I think we will look back on this as a hammer blow for United. He was irreplacable and vitally important for this side. It's no coincidence that United's two recent Champions League finals coincided with Ronaldo's two best seasons.

  • Comment number 7.

    Quite amusing really - almost the worth of Newcastle!

    Expect to see a happier, more balanced and more dangerous MUFC next season...

  • Comment number 8.

    £80 million for one player. What if he gets a career-ending injury?

    Ridiculous, no one's worth anything close to that type of money. And who knows if Ronaldo will be any good for Madrid, very few players who've gone from England to Spain have been, most have been a disappointment - Owen, Van Nistelrooy, Petit, Overmars, etc.

  • Comment number 9.

    I am a United fan and I cannot think of a better transfer deal for United at the moment. If Ronaldo seriously thinks he's going to get a situation at Real Madrid where his colleagues will be doing the donkey work for him as has happened at United in the past couple of seasons he needs to think again. Ronaldo will find it much tougher in Spain than he might think because if he hasn't got the hard workers around him then he won't get as much time to work his undoubted magic.

    Great player, but at £80 million he is an absolute, definite sell. One man doesn't make a team after all - he can be replaced. [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 10.

    This figure is simply madness. This has to stop.

    As for Ronaldo - Fergie is well rid of him and the offer is almost beyond refusal. I think Fergie has a trick up his sleeve, ready to replace the sulking winger.

  • Comment number 11.

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

  • Comment number 12.

    I'm glad we can get on with the most important thing which is the football instead of the Ronaldo circus that we get every summer. We can buy Two or Three world class players with the money we've got for him.

    Onwards and upwards I say, no player is bigger than Manchester United. I hope we get Real in the champions league next season and knock them out.

  • Comment number 13.

    More or less on the money by my estimation. I'm just curious who we will get to fill his shoes. Hopefully someone with a smaller ego.

  • Comment number 14.

    Even has a united supporter if any player wants to go then bye bye. What is the attraction of Real who knows?? 80 million is 3-4 world class players and fergie knows this. I loved and hated the boy, but how many games has he won for us last year? We can replace him no problem and we may even be a better team for it.
    I am just sorry that the boy feels he needs to play his football somewhere else to prove his worth.
    The number 7 is a very important shirt in our history but i guess today money talks and history walks....Sad for the EPL as well. Still i cant help but feel a little betrayed by him for walking away from us....

  • Comment number 15.

    This is fantastic news for English football!

    Now we only have to watch the "Olympic Diving" event when English teams meet Real in the Champions League competition rather than week in, week out.

    The only person I feel sorry for is Didier Drogba who will now need to "hold down" the EPL Olympic Diving Team all by his lonesome.

    Good riddance!

  • Comment number 16.

    just a thought but with ronaldo gone maybe man u should take a punt on Aiden McGeady, he's at the stage where he is outgrowing celtic and needs a higher level to develop but he is the type of player who could explode like Ronaldo did three years ago and would flourish in a ball playing side like Man U

  • Comment number 17.

    Good luck to him but £80m for any player is just plain stupid. F1 teams are being told to implement a £40m cap for a whole season. The silly money that is spent has to be addressed for football to survive. There should be a maximum wage bill per team or something simular. We would then get competetive football and not the same few teams with big money to spend winning evertything.

  • Comment number 18.

    £80 million will not only have to replace Ronaldo but probably Tevez, Scholes, VDS, and Giggs. They undoubtably also need their CM strengthening. Will Ribery et al automatically want to go to OT and will they take time to settle?

    Apart from Rio/Vidic, Ronaldo was more important to Utd than any other player for the past 2 seasons; that is not easy to replace.

    £80 million sounds a lot but will selling clubs now start asking for more?

    SAF will no doubt have something up his sleeve but you make him sound like he has some special gift for knowing when to get rid. Anyone with a gram of intelligence knows it was time for Ronaldo to go. No club will ever let a player get bigger than the institution itsel.

  • Comment number 19.

    Man U - and the Premier League - will be better off without him.

    His petulence & attitude that a referee can have a different opinion than him when he falls to the ground after a slight touch is disrespectful.

    Talented?- yes...
    best in the world?- yes he was.....

    Has a lot to learn about sportsmanship before he becomes as much as a legend as Pele, Charlton, Moore

  • Comment number 20.

    I think Phil explains it perfectly. Whilst we will be sad to see his undeniable footballing genius depart these shores, the constant whining, diving and the victim mentality that was a large part of his persona on the pitch will not be missed. Although all of this meant there was never a dull moment when he played.

    Also, as a United fan I will be glad not spending half of every football discussion I have with friends feeling the need to defend him. (Probably how Chelsea fans feel about Drogba??)

    Anyway - Ribery, Benzema, Tevez & Valencia will be ample compensation thank you!!

  • Comment number 21.

    I have to admit. I wouldn't like him to go. But £80 Million? Really over inflated! Im guessing now either Tevez will stay but if he doesnt, we should see a striker who should score about 20+ helping to cover the void left by Ronaldo. Not to mention Berbatov owes us a season. Him scoring 25+ is very likely.
    He gave us good times, scored some fantastic goals but his attitude at times meant he showed great disrespect to the manager and the fans who made him who he is.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's finally happening, as we all knew it would one day. He's an amazing player and we will miss him, but I've always thought that the rest of the team rely on Ronaldo too much and wait for him to do something to win games that aren't going our way, like the Champions League final. Rooney back up front, Berba running the show and whoever Sir Fergie brings in and we'll be a good team next year. Whether we'll be a better team or not, we'll have to wait and see....

    Ps. Could Cantona still do a job for us?? Bring back the real number 7

  • Comment number 23.

    His occasional brilliance will be missed; what won't be missed are all of the negatives.

    Barcelona proved the truth in the words (Cloughie or Shankly - cant remember which) that you can only play football when you've got the ball - CR7's past occasional brilliance was completely eclipsed by Iniesta & co - United will emerge better for his departure.

    Given the current financial situation around the world, hats off to united for getting the money for him.

  • Comment number 24.

    As if the signs weren't there already. Dollar is gone and the Premier League is going is down the plug with it. Gentlemen to be the best league and best club you need THE BEST PLAYERS, marketing, hype and tv money alone isn't enough. Where are the top 5, top 10, top 20 players in the world at the moment? Top club has just 4 class players and can't afford half of them, just after getting 2nd rate Bulgarian international. 2nd club is in sorry state and looks like selling rather than buying. 3rd club gets Serie A & La Liga rejects.

    So fickle...Wasn't Fergie himself telling us the other day Real can pss off cus he ain't going anywhere? What a joke of a man, he was wearing his angry face too and fans believed him! Weren't you lot telling us the guy is the best in the world? More 'effective' than Messi? Viva Ronaldo running down the wing was the one thing that kept you awake, now what? OT will be like a cemetery again.

    Are you genuinely not worried? I'm not talking about the PL but about the CL. Ronaldo was the difference that got you past Inter, Porto and maybe Arsenal. Against Porto you were 2nd best. How are you (or any other English club) seriously challenge Barcelona or Perez's squad if half of his ambitions are realised? Can't you see that as things stand your midfield the weakest you've had for ages and one of the most lightweight in Europe? Have a look at the midfielder options you have. Will Rooney and Vidic single-handedly get you out of trouble?

    And then you're going on about how great business you did. Yes it's great business no question about that and you desperately need money BUT No.1 had your club bought ONE of these 2 let alone both you'd be in dreamland and lifting the quintuple already (sorry quadruple got carried away); and No.2 you know yourselves better than anyone the cheque is going straight into the Glaziers pocket. They are under no pressure at all by supporters & media so fair play to them for cashing in. The club isn't going to spend anywhere near 80mil in the transfer market - and you know it.

    The bottom line is that United are bossed, bought, rejected and got done by again. Whilst you get the teenagers from around the world almost for free thinking they are gonna bring you major trophies. With Ben Foster Rafael and Tosic. Cuckooland. Eh?

    Anyway...Good luck in signing that Ecuadorian international who sounds like a La Liga football club. Decent hard...had a great season for Wigan (Just make sure you get a good deal for him not like those clowns from Madrid with Diarra)

  • Comment number 25.

    Only ManU fans will be sad to see him go, the rest of have had enough of his diving and pathetic petulance. In his SIX years at United he has only dazzled for TWO of those seasons (the last two). The other seasons he was above the cut of regular EPL players but nothing amazing and certainly nothing close to the worlds best! Plenty of ballerina skills but nothing effective, just twiddly toes and stepovers. And yes his 42 goals were simply amazing but you have to remember that he scored about 15 penalties that season, which only amounts to 27 goals which is still GREAT but u need to put things into perspective. Henry scored 20+ goals every season he was at Arsenal and only very few penalties (remember he NEVER takes pens when the foul was on him), and also remember the amount of assists he had EVERY season, always in double figures. Henry we missed, and still do. He was not just the greatest ever foreign player in England but, the GREATEST EVER player to play in English football! But Ronaldo we will not miss, good riddance I say. Hope to see ManU vs Real next season, whatta match that would be.

  • Comment number 26.

    Another excellent blog Phil.

    'Ferguson has a sure touch when it comes to sensing a player's era is over at Old Trafford, and he will have detected all the vital signs from Ronaldo last season that it was time to part.'

    Couldn't agree more. I bet Fergie has been monitoring his performances this season after last summer's fiasco. It was clear from Ronny's body language and drop in form in the early part of the season that he was at OT under sufferance. Credit to the lad though, he pulled his socks up when it mattered in the CL (Porto away, Arsenal Home & Away, Barca in the Final).

    I wonder just when Sir Alex reached the decision that he would offload CR. You can bet you bottom dollar he will already have his purchases in mind.

    I can't see any Latinos coming to OT and Bayern will push hard to keep Ribery so that would leave the door open for Benzema and what about a return to OT for Ruud? The only reason he left was because he didn't get on with Ronaldo.

    Whatever happens you can be sure Fergie has a cunning plan.


  • Comment number 27.

    I think the situation does have to be taken with a dose of reality. Despite Ronaldos quite obvious talent, he has expressed a desire to leave on numerous occasions in the past 5 years. This season there has also been a noticable dip in his work rate, if not his contribution in the final third. £80m is a lot of money, and it is important SAF makes some important signings and does not indulge in luxury players (Veron).

    Phil is right to emphasise Ronaldos abundance of talents and they should be recognised. It would be petulant of United fans to dismiss Ronaldo as an egotistical show pony as he has been the centrepoint of some wonderful moments over the past six years. Who would have thought three years ago that Man Utd would have snatched the title away from Mourinhos Chelsea, let alone retained it twice. For 18 months he was simply peerless, and last season was still very good, considering he started with an injury and was being judged on his fantastic performances the season before. Indeed it could be argued that the only thing that separates Ronaldo from Messi is their attitude, with Messi's humble and honest persona taken to far more easily than a self indulgent Ronaldo.

    In short, a great player but time to move. Gourcuff anyone?

    Ronaldo should be judged on what he

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm glad to see him go; whilst he is a great footballer, he is petulant and thinks himself bigger than the club. SAF has done it before in moving on players who do not want to commit to the club and £80m is an excellent price. I hope he can spend it wisely in attracting replacement(s).

    What price would you put on Messi's head now - £100m?

  • Comment number 29.

    United have made an almost unthinkable profit on that initial deal, but no-one must ever deny that he has given wonderful value to them in turn - especially in 2008, when he was peeless in scoring 42 goals.

    Peeless?? Now there's a description - nice editing! :-))

  • Comment number 30.

    I cannot understand all you ManU fans.......... u go on about people ruining football with inflated prices for players, when its YOUR club that is one of the worst!! Look how much u are paying yr players! U guys paid 30+ million for Anderson and Nani (talk about inflated prices). U paid OVER 30m for Berba, over 20m for Hargreaves and way too much for Veron, and broke the british transfer record by paying 20m for Ferdinand! United are just as guilty as the rest when it comes to overpaying for players, so please stop this hyprocrisy!! You are just as much to blame as chelsea and madrid!! And your club has the MOST debt out of all the top 4 clubs, way to set an example!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Post #5. I absolutely agree, these clubs are just transcending the rules the rest operate within and its not good for the game. For a club the magnituse of Madrid to be so utterrly lacking in calss is appalling. Compare the situation to that at Barca; Valdes, Puyol, Pique (via Man. Utd), Busquests, Iniests, Xavi and Messi. All products of the Barc youth system so good that even Cesc Fabregas has been proven correct to have left so as to have a better cahnce of playing.

    If we're going to start speculating as to how Man. Utd. will spend their bounty there's a name I would throw in. Utd. definitely lack an old fashioned playmaker in the middle of the park and I have a feeling that Arsenal being in no position to reject an offer of around £30 million and that Fabregas's thirst to win trophies make this a deal that could happen. If Ribery isn't plying his trade at Old trafford next season I'll be suprised.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think this makes United look bad. It just shows that given the choice top players would rather play for Real or Barcelon than Man Utd. Buying Valencia would be a good buy, but they must bring in a top, top, name as well to make sure they can sell a load of shirts with his name on the back. Riberry? Not for me. I'd bring in Valencia but also try and get Toure from Barcelona and Benzema.

  • Comment number 33.

    Don't think Utd will end up with all 80 million. Surely Lisbon had a sell-on clause in his contract? Don't think Ferguson had a choice as the deal was agreed last summer. United won't find another right winger who can get 40+ in a season, so of course he'll be missed. They missed him at the start of this season. Van der Sar, Giggs, Scholes, Hargreaves, Tevez, Neville, Brown, Nani and Ronaldo all as good as departed and Ferdinand's on his way down Hargreaves road. Ferguson will need the 16 million a year over 5 years, or will it go to service the Glazers debt?

  • Comment number 34.

    As a neutral, I'm pleased to see the back of him. He's obviously a good player, but the will-he-won't-he transfer saga of last season was so incredibly tedious.

    I'm not sure I could have handled another summer of "slave" comparisons and "I dream of playing for Real" garbage.

  • Comment number 35.

    And just a quick note to u Mr. Phil McNulty: United have NO CHOICE but to sell Ronaldo, once a player wants to go u can only keep him for so long. Ronaldo wanted to join Madrid YEARS ago, last year they managed to keep him by giving him a pay rise, and like Madrid said they 'already agreed a contract' last year! This isn't fergie's idea to sell, its down to the Glazers and they cannot turn down £80. If AL had his way he would never sell Ronaldo, it's killing him inside. Dont get it twisted...

  • Comment number 36.

    The statement released by United specifically stating that the deal will be completed by June 30th does suggest some form of deal had been pre-agreed by the clubs. If that is the case then no doubt United have spent the last few month's deciding how best to spend the cash and sound out clubs with offers.

    That of course would be the best possible position the club could be in. I'm surprised United were not intrested in talking Snijder or any other Real player as part of the deal. It would have been one way of avoiding paying the vastly inflated prices they will have to pay to sign players from other clubs.

    Whatever happens United need to find a far better balance in attack next season 67 goals is out third worst haul in Premiership history and Ronaldo contributed over a quarter of those. Hopefully we can bring in the replacements quickly and start pre-season with the whole squad rather than have transfer's dragging on as has been the case in the last couple of seasons.

  • Comment number 37.

    Spot on with your assessment, Phil. SAF has timed this deal to perfection. Even as a Liverpool fan I have to admire the way he manages not only on the pitch but off it as well.

    What would a player like Villa cost at the moment £30-40m, SAF could buy one of the hottest strikers (if not the) in the world at the moment and still have plenty of money to play with.

    It's time now for United to prove that they are just as good without Ronaldo (I always thought they were) and watch as undoubtedly Ronaldo WILL NOT make a massive impact @ Real Madrid.

    I fully expect Barcelona to stroll right through Real and the Galacticos next season.

    Ronaldo will flop @ Real, you watch.

    Who's betting that Utd and Real play each other in Champions League at some point next season..... Evra to "welcome" Ronaldo back to Manchester.... ha ha ha you couldn't write this stuff.

    Biggest Q now is what can SAF get for £80m........

    ........ Newcastle United!!!!

  • Comment number 38.

    "especially in 2008, when he was peeless in scoring 42 goals."

    a whole season with out a pee!! now thats impressive. more impressive than the 42 goals i feel

  • Comment number 39.

    "United have made an almost unthinkable profit on that initial deal, but no-one must ever deny that he has given wonderful value to them in turn - especially in 2008, when he was PEELESS in scoring 42 goals."

    And i thought Ronaldo was the one doing the pee-taking with his antics.

    For me its good riddance to a league where his style of play is not suited He is a good player, but playing in a league where pace and power are valued above all else elevated him to greatness. La Liga defenders are masters of subduing tricky wingers, Ronaldo will get found out.

  • Comment number 40.

    wheres the 606 link gone mcnulty?

  • Comment number 41.

    Fergie ALWAYS Finds a Replacement look when Beckham went, yes we dipped a bit but came back with all guns blazing

    Ribery 4 united

    Cristiano = JUDAS, not a true team player and doesn't give his all if he don't get his own way

    Rooney = Next player to reach 500 caps for united and win world cup for england

    Say No More

  • Comment number 42.

    to all these people claiming Man city are ruining football by spending big money...

    how many times have united in the last 5 years spent £20 million plus on a player. chelsea too for that matter. liverpool TRY to buy the elague but fail miserably each time.

    just because city now have the clout to be among the big 4 that it would appear is only allowed for united, chelsea, liverpool and arsenal, and we are trying to break that monoploy everyone is whinging about it.

    we have just as much right to be there as you lot as do pompey, fulham, villa and even burnley. if you can buy the best players for your team and they do the magic on the pitch then you deserve to end up where you do.

    jealousy is bitter

    oh and ronaldo leaving united is good AND bad. good because it means the rest of their players will have to perform if they are to stay where theyare. bad because it means fantasy football will have to find it's new 200 points a season player.

  • Comment number 43.

    80mil is a figure no club could turn down, man utd could get Silva and Villa quite easily for that amount of money AND still have alot left over

  • Comment number 44.

    For all those people doubting SAF and who think that it's the end of the road for Man Utd because of Ronaldo's move, I only have two names for you all: Zoran Tosic (09/10) and Adem Ljajic (10/11)!!

  • Comment number 45.

    #5 I think it is because some fans have this beleif that only clubs with "history" can spend money (often it only actually translates as recent history)

    So clubs like Man C or chelsea get lambasted, even though they are only spending what the clubs above them have done. Real Madrid seem to be exempt from criticism since they have "history"!

    #8 a few players ahve done well recently when switching. Think Forlan and Kanoute - hardly great players in the UK but always in the top scorers over in Spain

  • Comment number 46.

    What is the attraction with joining a not very good Spanish side? Fill it with lots of premadonnas and you create a highly volatile environment with lots of tetchy petulant sulks.

    This is quite funny. I give him 2 years to get bored of it, but then where will he go?

    He's burnt his bridges in Red Manchester, surely won't go to Barcelona, and the Italian clubs can't afford him. He'll either go to City or LA Galaxy.

  • Comment number 47.

    SJB-----don't worry about Drogba, he still has Gerrard to keep him company.

  • Comment number 48.

    Neutral, club-wise, here. But I must disclose that I dislike the player for his arrogance, and simulation.

    However, this is an obcene amount of money. ManU are quite correct to take it, since it is offered to them, the question is whether it should have been offered in the 1st place.

    Waiting to see if the World/European powers-that-be say something about money in Spanish clubs is destroying football... not holding my breath, though...

  • Comment number 49.

    Glad you noticed you'd written 'peeless' instead of peerless, now correct the first sentence under the picture - 'it would BE unfair'.
    Sorry - trainee english teacher so I notice these things!! Can anybody explain where Real Madrid are getting all this money when I believe there's a recession on? And although I'm not a Man U supporter I say good riddance to Ronaldo - a petulant disrespectful drama queen with odd flashes of genius but too much trouble to keep around. If you saw the pre-FA cup final skit where he interviewed himself, he lied straight to the camera by saying he was staying put. As a Spurs supporter he reminded me of Sol Campbell and his mendacity before moving to that club down the road. Well done Fergie - keep Tevez who has the proper attitude to playing for a club like Man U.

  • Comment number 50.

    The deal was done last Summer. Real knew, United knew, Ronaldo knew.

    Anybody who thinks different must have skipped a chapter somewhere.

  • Comment number 51.

    Is Zaki going with him, or will he be in the market for a new flatmate?

  • Comment number 52.

    This is great business for Manchester United, Ronaldo this season was only a shadow of the player of last season.

    Ronaldo is a very good player but he has no chance of ever being one of the greats, like Pele, Maradonna or Cruyf. Ronaldo is from the third tier not as good as Platini, Zidane and many others. People will stop talking about him soon, when the next star comes along.
    Real have bought two very good players but they have no hope of overtaking Barca.

  • Comment number 53.

    Good-bye to Ronaldo, albeit with a load of thanks. Hopefully with the money we can now keep Tevez, no one can question his spirit.

    Saw Wayne Rooney at Wembley last night. Though Andorra were real mugs, it was a pleasure to be in the stadium to see him get two goals for England! This transfer might make SAF give him a more central role, this can only be good for United and as a domino effect for England.

    Finally Real have spent nearly £140 million for two players....where's Platini?

    Here's a good blog:

    I hope last eight of 09/10 CL season are again English!

  • Comment number 54.

    Ronaldo however good he thinks he is is not worth £80m. Zidane was around £49m(not taking into account inflation) and I'd much rather have him in my side than Ronaldo. It'd be interesting to find out where Real have found all this money from aswell and the debt levels at the club.

    Hopefully United will bring in Ribery rather than Valencia and I'm sure Ferguson must have planned for this in advance. No one player is bigger than the football club....

  • Comment number 55.

    Decent enough blog and good to see that you have not gone down the idiotic path of stating that this transfer was "debt" related as some other moronic journalists have done.

    To be honest, a wonderful player at times, a liability in others. I think, in my personal opinion, that this is good business for United. It is obvious to nearly every single supporter, avid, neutral and WUM alike that he's heart has not been in United's cause for the last 12 months. He has obviously wanted to leave since Real's "Courtship" (I prefer to call it underhand tactics) last summer and some of his displays this season have been mediocre at best. The petulance he has displayed has also left a sour taste in the mouth.

    I have never understood the bewildering fascination with Real Madrid. Apart from their 5 wins on the bounce in the infancy of the European Cup, they have not really done that much. Their team, minus Kaka and the proposed acquisition of Ronaldo, leave a lot to be desired and I would of thought that obtaining some defenders who can..well...defend, would of been more prudent. But there you are!

    Adios Ronaldo, you have been a good player on occasions, but as it has been said many times before, no one player is bigger than the club. Roll on some big name signings such as Ribbery and Villa who want to play for the club (hopefully)and lets see another good tilt at the Premiership and Champions League next season..

  • Comment number 56.

    Much better players than Ronaldo have left United, Robson, Cantona, Keane to name but a few, for all is antics, he really has no personality or charisma. And has shown a huge lack of repect for the club and fans, so all in all glad to see him go.

  • Comment number 57.

    Glad to see the back of him, he is a horrible example of a human being. Just need Ashley Cole to go to Barcelona now and the premier league will be a lovely place.

  • Comment number 58.

    Personally, I'm quite happy that he's left us.

    There's no point in keeping hold of a player that clearly doesn't want to be with us anymore.

    A friend of mine works in London with a few RM fans. Apparently, they're gutted that they've signed Ronaldo. They said they'd prefer Rooney, as he fights and scraps for the ball.

    I can see him ending up like Ronaldinho. 2/3 good seasons then downhill from then on.

  • Comment number 59.

    Good blog Phil. A sign of the financial times. Not sure where Real are getting their money from, but Utd will spend the bulk of that 80 million on 2 or 3 to class players. Ronaldo scoring power will not be easy to replace so i would suggest a forward, a right midfielder and crucially a top class playmaker in the middle of the park. Disapointed that he didn't want to stay, but onwards and upwards and hopefully by the start of next season we will have a stronger team. United's midfield has needed improving and now is the perfect chance to do that. So thanks to Ronaldo for the memories, but when a player wants to leave it's better for the team that he does and i like the way it seems that it'll happen quickly. Bring on title number 19 and it'll be the best bit of business that Utd ever did.

  • Comment number 60.

    great blog Phil, I think you and the other comments are right that his time was up just as the case was with Beckham, Van Nistlerooy and Keane. Once a player thinks he is bigger than the club he has to go for the sake of the team. United will be better for this.

  • Comment number 61.

    Good job Phil. You have said it properly. Goodbye Ronnie, hello the next Eric the magnificent. Fergie knows when to reinvent United and you could see him tinkering this past year. Plus, he can't have missed how Rooney plays for Capello. Ten goals, twelve matches. That's the Rooney we've been waiting for in the EPL ever since he signed from Everton.
    Ronaldo was a great player for United. Salute and goodbye.

  • Comment number 62.

    I think SAF was getting so weary of Ronaldo he would have sold him for 80 million Zimbabwean dollars. Will the PL miss him? No. Selling a player you bought for 12M at 80M sounds a pretty good deal, SAF should try out for "Bargain Hunt" :)

  • Comment number 63.

    Agree with you entirely Phil. You should put your blogs on your Twitter page and have a link on your blog to Twitter so people can find you -

  • Comment number 64.

    A good deal for all concerned. As for a replacement how about taking a punt on Ashley Young? Young, English, has pace and a great record of providing assists and goals over the past two seasons. Available for £20-25 million?

  • Comment number 65.

    IF he goes then United have just lost the best player in the world. There is no upside to this for that club. At 24 he is a phenomenon and will only get better.

    Its also a sad day for the premier league. I dont think theres a football fan on the planet who wont be glued to El Clásico next season. Does anyone seriously think any game in the premier league can compete with that?

    How can anyone honestly try to dress this up as a good thing for Untied?

  • Comment number 66.

    finally, he won't be missed that's for sure, anyways now that united's scoring machine has left them, the title is in liverpool's and chelsea's hands, and who does replace ronaldo, for example benzema , ribery, they will need time to settle in, because the premier league is much tougher then the bundesliga or the french league.

    anyways good luck ronaldo, have fun
    and dont come back.

  • Comment number 67.

    McGeady would be an ideal replacement and would be a typical Ferguson signing. Not the finished article but ready to be moulded the United way. Alongside the capture of Tevez I think United will be just as strong for next season.

    Ferguson won't go for any of the big names being banded about like Ribery - he'll leave that Madness for the likes of Real Madrid and Chelski.

  • Comment number 68.

    I wish " Doris" nothing but the best except when we play them obviously.The King is Dead.Long Live The King.Fergie having obviously decided to rebuild all again before he retires.Does mean sadly we will pay over the odds ourselves now for the Wigan lad and probably see us square the circle with the owner of Tevez.War chest not finished thiough. Campbell a done deal and no doubt others to go.Hopefully some creedance given to the Roon monster playing a central and pivotal role in the future.Normal and exciting times at the Theatre of Dreams.Bring it on.Can't wait for August.

  • Comment number 69.

    80m is wonderful!

    And everyone thought Utd were silly not to sell him last summer for '75m'!

    Not as good a season, but still a good one.

    1st transfer that is seemingly accepted by everyone- Valencia.

    I dont think many will be coming in, i think Fergie has been setting up this transfer since last summer, with tosic and ljajic being bought.

    Now all he needs to do is sign Tevez and we will be sorted...

    Unless Pato signs for chelsea then there will only be 1 winner next season...

  • Comment number 70.

    £80 million is great business but who do they now buy?
    They can't buy the very best players as they are already at Madrid or Barcelona. Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Kaka, Huntelaar etc.

    Other top players are Torres and Arshavin and they won't be able to sign them.

    So next on the shopping list would be players such as David Villa and Ribery.
    Personally, as good a player as he is I would release Tevez if the asking price is £32million and sign Villa instead.

    Man Utd need a holding Midfielder type player who will put his foot in as was eveident in the Champions League Final. That player is Hargreaves but his knees are shot and Fletcher is good but he is not a Keane type player.

    As a replacement for Ronaldo, they could do no worse then go for Ashley Young. He would develop even further at Man Utd and I think Aston Villa would sell for the right price.

  • Comment number 71.

    Goodbye Sonny Boy
    You did us well over the years, thank you. £80 Million. Silly money and we'll take it with smiles. You were one of the best but not irreplacible. I kind of reckon you don't know what you've let yourself in for at Madrid.I'll watch you there with interest. Good bye

  • Comment number 72.



  • Comment number 73.

    You can add all the nice plattitudes you want, but anyone with any sense knew he had become an embarrassing liabilty at O.T.especially Sir Alex.
    Wish R.M. all the best with him. Sir Alex's next move should be to get rid of the other sulker, Berbatov.

  • Comment number 74.

    Yet again ... another biased spin in favour of United. Last year United didn't sell the player, and the press (especially this BBC site) showers praise on United. This time Ronaldo decides that United is not the best team for him to play his football nor is Manchester as good a place to live as Madrid, and again the biased UK media put this as a great ManUtd decision. ManUtd can never do no wrong in the eyes of the biased UK media. I just hope ManUtd draws Real Madrid in the Champions League and that Kaka and Ronaldo show us all which is the better team.

    I will never do business with the Italian mob was Fergie's statement when referring to Real Madrid. One would have thought that with a knighthood we could hold Fergie to his word. Obviously not. It's interesting how £80m can change a man.

    Why, why, why is the UK media so biased in favour of United - even the BBC is biased. Regardless, Fergie doesn't even afford the BBC an interview. He doesn't want to talk to the BBC people. Unfortunately, BBC sports reporters and pundits fall over themselves in praise-singing Utd and Fergie. Maybe BBC is over-trying to reconcile its problems with Fergie.

  • Comment number 75.

    United survived without Van Nistelrooy, they survived without Cantona, and they will survive without Ronaldo. Ferguson can invest in three quality players this summer giving a better balance to his midfield.

    Ronaldo has given the United faithful some wonderful memories, and having had six years out of him only to sell him on at a profit of nearly £70m, whilst perhaps obscene, is nevertheless good business.

    The bottom line is that nothing lasts for ever - Ronaldo was always going to move on eventually, and with an offer like this on the table, allied with a player who is clearly not happy despite his protestations to the contrary, now is the right time for him to go.

  • Comment number 76.

    The roof might be going on before the foundations are in place.
    How True,defensively Real were poor last season, they have got two world class offensive players, but the same porous defence remains, who would bet against another 'mind blowing' bid for Vidic or Rio??

  • Comment number 77.

    I will be glad to see him go. I don't think this is the same as RVN or Beckham though. I think Ferguson will be gutted to lose him, also this is tempered by the £80mil he has managed to recoup. The Glazers will have had a big say in the deal.

    As a football fan, I am glad to see Ronaldo go. His petulance, arrogance and selfishness, in my eyes, far overshadow any skills or goals he ever brought to Man Utd.

    Most interesting thing will be to see how much of the money is made available for transfers and how much will go to service the clubs £700 million debt.

  • Comment number 78.

    As expected a mixed reaction. I do feel there is a genuine groundswell of opinion that Manchester United are right to sell at this time. And as I said in the blog, it is sad that his departure will not be mourned in so many quarters, but his theatrics turned many supporters against him, even some of those at Old Trafford.

    While I believe United have made the correct decision, any world-class talent that leaves the Premier League will be missed and Ronaldo will unquestionably falls into that exalted company.

    All the usual suspects linked, although I think Celtic's Aiden McGeady is the longest of long shots? Is he actually good enough for the Premier League? You tell me.

    And who was the mischievous person who just suggested Ferguson should ring Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and offer £60m for Fernando Torres? Bit naughty that.

  • Comment number 79.

    any of this good riddance stuff is laughable. He has been and is a player with EXCEPTIONAL quality. However, he has unbalanced the side, and pushed Rooney too far in the shade.

    We need to now purchase a couple of wingers who are actually wingers, let Rooney come back to the centre and develop the killer partnership with Berba that will come from a settled team and formation again.

    We have the understudy strikers, what we lack is proper wingers. Valencia will be a cert, but i'm looking forward to a summer of exciting speculation as Sir Alex spends a fee of truely stupid levels on a number of quality team players.

    I just pray we get Hargreaves back to fitness, because we could really use his free kicks again this season.

  • Comment number 80.

    NikosBg at no.24; I'm not a Man Utd fan, but you are truly talking out of your backside. You have the audacity to call Sir Ferguson a 'joke of a man'. Arguably the best manager in the history of the sport and certainly of the recent era? I fear for your sanity.

  • Comment number 81.

    Great deal for United, as said earlier in these comments, no player is bigger than a club.
    As much as I dislike Ronaldo, he has been a superb player for your club and for the Premier League as a whole.
    I think Real Madrid are mugs for spending this amount of money, but they will learn by their mistakes.
    Look at it this way, get him out, get Tevez signed up on a permanent contract and have at least £50 million left over for Fergie to develop the next ungrateful, petulant footballing prodigy.

  • Comment number 82.

    Good on him, now that hes freed from 'slavery' I expect him to return to the form he was in 2 seasons ago....

  • Comment number 83.

    Real have never been the same since they sold Makalele. I see they still haven't learned the lesson.

  • Comment number 84.

    British football is better off without him. No matter how talented, it is completely overshadowed by his disgraceful, unsportsmanlike behaviour. For me, he epitomises everything that is wrong with the modern game.

  • Comment number 85.

    MU fan here.

    I am pleased with the deal. Great sum of money to invest in new talent.

    Ronaldo was an amazing player. I bought the shirt. However, I think he had definitely reached his sell-by date.

  • Comment number 86.

    It may weaken the Premier League to lose such a talented player but at the end of the day Ronaldo's personality did not always suit a team game. As a non Man Utd fan (I live in the North) I can still say thanks for the wonderful memories Ronaldo. Now please grow up and stop the simulation and petulance. It will be interesting to see if Man Utd players still disrespect the refs so much next season without the influence of their Prima (Ballerina) Donna!

  • Comment number 87.

    Ronaldo is a great player and has done many great things for United but it has been proven time and time again that they can cope without the loss of a major player. Cantona, Keane, Beckham and Van Nistelrooy have all left and United have continued to win more trophies than anybody else.
    Having said that Ronaldo was absolutely pivotal to United's excellence and it undoubtedly gives Liverpool and Chelsea hope of winning the title. I don't think a player of the calibre of Antonio Valencia or, God forbid, Nani, is an adequate replacement for him and so Ferguson should really be looking at the likes of Ribery. I can't see how Real will fit in Kaka, Ronaldo, Higuain and Huntelaar, as well as reported targets Ribery and Villa, and keep them all satisfied, unless they plan to concede an awful lot of goals.
    Ferguson should now aim to build United's attacking play around Rooney in the same way Capello has done for England. A player such as Ribery on the left-hand side has the energy and ability to replicate Gerrard's role for England, and if Rooney plays in a withdrawn striker's role behind a more productive Berbatov (or Benzema) next season, United will probably still be the strongest team in the country.

  • Comment number 88.

    £80M is a lot of money, but now it's gone stupid over transfer fees. Whoever United buy, the price is going to be over inflated and how do you replace that quality, the answer is you can't! United will buy someone like Valencia from Wigan, who is nowhere near the sort of player Ronaldo is. It's time that contracts between players and clubs were honored and a new transfer system put in place. £140M for two players is crazy, and how come real Madrid, who couldn't afford those prices a year ago can suddenly find that money now without having had any success in the meantime. United are right to sell at that price but it shouldn't be like this in the first place, and although Man City are the richest club in the world, transfers like those of Kaka and Ronaldo show that there is a snobbery in football. Kaka doesn't care about helping AC Milan by being transfered to Real Madrid for £60M, when he could have helped the club to another £40M if he had gone to Man City in January, it's all about the selfish players and their high profiles and the status of rich owners!

  • Comment number 89.

    There arent many players that can replace Ronaldo. For skill, assists and contribution i would definitely see Ribery replacing Ronaldo, but the big question is "Does Ribery Score as many goals"?

    This is half the reason why Ronaldo is worth so much, he scores lots.

  • Comment number 90.

    Did anyone know that Ronaldo would be good enough to play in the premier league before he got here ? You always take a chance, bringing in players from other countries/leagues. Some take to the EPL like a fish to water, Fernando Torres is a fine example of that, where as others find it a struggle (Crespo, Veron, etc).

    I just don't believe Ferguson is one to get involved in the madness that we're seeing from the likes of Real and Man City currently, and Chelsea in the past. I really think that all the "usual suspects" are complete red herrings. Ferguson is always 10 steps ahead of everyone else....

  • Comment number 91.

    I for one am glad to see him go. There used to be many times I'd think I'd have the perfect fantasy footie team ( only for everyone else around me to have Ronaldo as captain and score about 40 points. Now he's gone I can concentrate and a proper team - and NO CHEATING :p

  • Comment number 92.

    Big question now is - Who will become the next no.7? They have a pretty tough act to follow after Cantona, Beckham and Ronaldo.

  • Comment number 93.

    So, £80m, minus the £12 they spent on him, minus approx £35m (???) in wages etc over the years. Maybe an absolute profit of approx £20m?? Which means that all his goals, and everything he's done, has come for free! Not bad business at all. The two problems are:
    1. They've got to replace him. Well, so what? They'd have to replace him anyway in a few years. That's football. For a team with a long-term reputation to protect, this is always an issue - it never goes away whether you have a star player on your book or not.
    2. They've sold him to a rival, so they'll have to play against him. Well, this didn't seem to worry Barcelona did it?

  • Comment number 94.

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

  • Comment number 95.

    Excellent blog this. Covers all the right reasons why Ronaldo has to go.

    I'm a Utd fan, and will be sad to see him go, but not devastated. If he wants to go, let him - everyone is replacable, just ask Hughes, Ince, Beckham and Keane. I expect Sir Alex to bring in two, if not three top quality players now, so all looks rosy from a Man U perspective. Good luck to Ron, he's certainly going to need it playing with a load of washed up Spaniards.

  • Comment number 96.

    hendero wrote:
    80 million for one player. What if he gets a career-ending injury?

    Ridiculous, no one's worth anything close to that type of money. And who knows if Ronaldo will be any good for Madrid, very few players who've gone from England to Spain have been, most have been a disappointment - Owen, Van Nistelrooy, Petit, Overmars, etc.


    van nistelrooy did well in spain actually,,in his first season he scored 25 goals in 38 games,,,second season he scored 14 goals in 23 games and last season he scored 4 goals in 6 games,,,and micheal owen scored 13 league goals as a bit part player,,he surely would have scored more if he had played more often for real madrid.

  • Comment number 97.

    We need a proper replacement though, someone who can score 20+ goals a season. While Tevez worked like a horse last year, he WAS in a contract year, which is why he worked so hard to try to prove that he was not expendable to Manchester United. I just can not put my faith in him as he has not got a proven track record of being a top goal scorer.

  • Comment number 98.

    I do not think Ronaldo should have been bought at 80 million, however, I find it a bit funny how English/British sports journalist tend to give the impression that players can only do better if they play in the EPL. Look apart from Ronaldo I cannot think of any other player from the EPL who has won the FIFA world footballer of the year award in the last 10 years.

    Keep dreaming on. Ronaldo may not be as great a success as Zidane, but I wish him well at the greatest club in the history of football - Real Madrid. I agree with Phil though, that Madrid should be thinking more of strengthening the defence and midfield.

  • Comment number 99.

    Who did we most the most in the biggest game of our season? Why Darren Fletcher of course, Ronnie didnt deliver. Deal of the season - Bye Bye, it was sweet whilst it lasted..

  • Comment number 100.

    Yes, United should buy Valencia, but the one in Spain not in Wigan! Probably get it for less than 80 million. It's amazing to think Newcastle's players, fans, tea-ladies and St James Park are worth the same as a toy thrower from Portugal who can kick a ball rather well. The ball is round, the game lasts 90 minutes? Not these days...........


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