Jose Mourinho’s exit from the Bernabeu is likely to ensure that Cristiano Ronaldo stays put at Real Madrid for at least one more year. There is a lot that remains to be achieved for the Portuguese winger. He would not want his spell at Madrid to be considered a failure.
He has delivered the goods for the club time and time again, scoring 133 goals in 112 appearances for Los Blancos, and success has not eluded him either as he won the La Liga with Real Madrid in 2011-12. He is playing in a team that is perhaps the best team in the world on paper with the best talent from all around the globe. It is difficult to see why he’ll want to force his way out of the club if you ignore the media buzz that is created around him.
Yet there’s a little more to this case. Jose Mourinho’s man management skills seemed to fail him as he had a public debate with many of his players and Ronaldo explicitly expressed his unhappiness at the club. His muted celebrations harboured a lot of bad blood and all was not right. The temptation of fleeing and coming back to England would have been huge in the midst of all that.
Also the Messi factor. The Argentinian player has pipped him to all major accolades and that has visibly hurt the player. He does not disguise the desire to be the best in the world and the feeling that he is not appreciated in Spain contributes to the fact that many think that he will eventually move.
Ronaldo, however, will also know it in his heart that he can defy his critics only by competing in Spain. If he moves to United, Ronaldo versus Messi will be a battle that is only fought on paper.
Manchester United, on the other hand, are in major transition themselves. Sir Alex’s retirement means that there will be some nerves at the beginning of the next season and while hopes should be modest given the stiffness of competition in the Premier League, some sort of silverware will be expected. If United can put an offer that Madrid cannot refuse, ignoring for a minute that Madrid can pretty much refuse everything, and Ronaldo moves back to England, expectations will rise meteorically.
The mutual respect that Sir Alex and Cristiano Ronaldo share means that an eventual homecoming cannot be ruled out at this stage. Sir Alex Ferguson, arguably the best manager in the history of English football, said these high words of praise for the player in 2009: “I have nothing but praise for the boy. He is easily the best player in the world. He is better than Kaka and better than Messi. He is streets ahead of them all. His contribution as a goal threat is unbelievable. His stats are incredible. Strikes at goal, attempts on goal, raids into the penalty box, headers. It is all there. Absolutely astounding.”
The affection between the two was visible when the two met on opposite side in the Champions League last season. He remains very much loved at Old Trafford and will be welcomed with open arms if he decides to go back to the red half of Manchester.
The magnitude of Ronaldo’s ability is such that it will put daylight between the Red Devils and other Premier League clubs. The champions know how to remain champions and that’s why they keep building upon a team that is winning.
At the same time, the burden of expectations along with the heavy price tag can create a situation in which a few under-par performances can create havoc. It will be a high-risk investment for David Moyes who will want to get a steady year in at Old Trafford before he makes such a heavy investment.
The odds regarding the possibility that Ronaldo might not sign an extension at the Bernabeu will depend upon his personal performance over the next two years. If he manages to kick off a golden spell under Carlo Ancelotti, the profound feeling of missing Old Trafford might disappear rather quickly.