Ronaldo - Goodbye and thank you for the memories
In the last few days, hundreds of column inches have been dedicated to Cristiano Ronaldo’s imminent record breaking transfer to Real Madrid; articles about the rights and wrongs of the transfer, the second coming of the “Galacticos” era, who United will buy to replace the irreplacable. What I have really taken an interest in though is the reaction of the Manchester United fans.
Most United fans have been saying that the team can cope without him, that in the last few months the tactics of the team have detrimentally been skewed to accommodate his talent (the Champions League final being case in point) and that Sir Alex Ferguson can build yet another great team but this time based around the mercurial Wayne Rooney. I would agree with all those sentiments and feel that they need to be aired. However, what has largely been missing is the expression of thanks to Ronaldo for his six brilliant years of service to United.
Ironically, Ronaldo arrived in the wake of the transfer of another Old Trafford superstar, David Beckham, to Real Madrid. I will never forget his debut against Bolton where he electrified a pensive crowd with a dazzling substitute appearance, all step overs, tricks and electric pace. It was clear that a superstar had arrived, and a humble, brace wearing one at that.
Over the years his petulance and tantrums may have come to the fore, but so too have his extraordinary skills and (like my fellow EFT contributor has pointed out in another article on this site) his undoubted bravery. Put simply, Ronaldo has been the most effective player in club football for the past three years.
My favourite Ronaldo moment was his last minute winning goal against Fulham at Craven Cottage in the 06/07 season. He ran the length of the field with the ball seemingly glued to his boots to score a sensational and crucial goal in a game United should not have won. In many such matches, Ronaldo has pulled United through.
Whatever anyone says, Ronaldo will be missed by United and by English football. He bought flair and skill, the like of which we may not see on these shores for a long time to come. Ronaldo may owe a lot to United for developing him into the player he is today, but the club owe him an even bigger debt for the trophies he has helped them win. So I hope United fans will join me in thanking Ronaldo for his great service to the club and wish him luck in La Liga.
Sorte e adeus!