Favre isn’t the only Hall-of-Famer frustrating his execs…

August 03, 2008 |

Soccer’s fastest rising star, Cristiano Ronaldo, will demand that Manchester United trade him to Real Madrid in a meeting that has been scheduled with Sir Alexander Ferguson and Red Devils’ brass this coming Tuesday, according to the London Telegraph.

This is an unfortunate set of circumstances for the Old Trafford faithful, as it was beginning to look like Ronaldo would honor his current contract with the Reds. Publicly, Ronaldo has been quite ambiguous about his wishes. He was quoted as saying that it would be a dream for him to play for Real Madrid; then, a few days later, he said he couldn’t imagine leaving Old Trafford. All the while, Manchester United has been obdurate about moving the star midfielder, reiterating time and time again that he is simply not for sale.

But, after weeks of Ronaldo’s speak-no-evil tactics, it looks as though some sort of deal will be worked out and Ronaldo will be playing in La Liga instead of the English Premiership during the 2008-09 season.

Real Madrid has been in a much-publicized pursuit of the Portuguese winger, and arguably the game’s best player, since ManU won Barclay’s Premiership earlier this year. Ronaldo did what any other athlete would have done, and told the media that he would not talk to anyone about his future until after the Champions League final. In that final, United defeated Chelsea on penalty kicks. Ronaldo drove home a sick header in the opening minutes of that contest (pictured below).

Real Madrid has offered to buy Ronaldo for an astonishing 68 million pounds. Initial reports speculated that Real would offer Cristiano up to 100 million pounds if he accepted their offer. If the move is finalized and accepted, it will signify the richest soccer contract in European history…and he certainly deserves it.

Cristiano Ronaldo is one of a kind. He displays first-class skills in running, dribbling, shooting, and heading. And NOBODY can do what he does on a free kick, especially within scoring distance. He’s the equivalent of Adam Jones in five years…truly an all-around great player. Below you will find a link to a highlight reel, mainly showing Ronaldo’s excellence from set pieces.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-Gra2NMuqE

^—the entire highlight is ridiculous, but the free kick highlights from 2:00 on are just insane…

With Rooney and Tevez working the middle, Ronaldo is a luxury to the ManU offense from live play…his absence does not equate to the Red Devils’ demise.

However, from set plays, which are SO important in both the Premiership and the Champions League, losing Ronaldo would be devastating for the Reds.

How will Manchester United respond in the absence of Ronaldo during free kicks if this deal goes through? Especially with the moves that Liverpool have made and with Chelsea still nipping at their heels? Even without Michael Ballack, Chelsea is still very strong defensively and they still have Drogba leading the charge on the other side of the pitch…

The free kick situation is certainly the most important aspect to evaluate if you’re in the Red Devils front office. Who will take them? And in what situations? Can they REALLY afford to lose Cristiano Ronaldo if they expect to repeat as both Premiership and Champions League victors?

Even though Ronaldo may be the best player in the world, does that mean that ManU is doomed if he goes to Madrid? Personally, I don’t think so.

I think that the Reds have plenty of fire power. Nani, the heir-apparent to the right wing if Ronaldo goes to Spain, is just as quick and can cross just as well. Nani displayed the full extent of his talents during his many minutes this past season; although many of those minutes were spent with Ronaldo occupying one of the center midfield positions.

With Rooney and Tevez working the middle, Ronaldo is a luxury to the ManU offense from live play…his absence does not equate to the Red Devils’ demise.

However, from set plays, which are SO important in both the Premiership and the Champions League, losing Ronaldo would be devastating for the Reds.

But if any team can recover from a loss like this, it’s the Red Devils; a franchise that is spoiled with talent from top to bottom.

Speaking from a fan’s standpoint, in Ronaldo’s absence, my preference would be for Michael Carrick to take free kicks in shooting situations while either Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes take the kicks in crossing situations…but this is all hypothetical because the deal has not yet been finalized and ManU remains stubborn.

Maybe ManU will remain steadfast and won’t sell Ronaldo…but unfortunately, initial reports do not look good. This is yet another example of a star player holding their organization hostage. The organization has been nothing but supportive, as expected from a top-notch team like Manchester United.

But by the looks of things, I guess the whole Brett Favre situation isn’t exclusive to American sports.

I don’t care if we’re talking about football, baseball, basketball, soccer, water polo, tiddlywinks…whatever. It’s all getting old. Players should honor their contract, bottom line.

Greedy, self-absorbed lawyers (ahem…I mean “agents”) like Scott Boras continue to make un-capped sports leagues, like MLB, an arms race.

Just look at the MLB trade deadline. The Yankees, who by far and away have the most money, just up and decided to pick up one of the best hitting catchers of all-time after placing Posada on the DL. Could any other team, aside from the Red Sox, Angels, and Dodgers, afford that?

It’s like we’re all in a competition to nail the hot girl after prom. Yankees, Red Sox, and Angels fans are the cool kids with the Lamborghini and the rest of us are stuck with a broken down Camino…

When will it all end?

At least being a hot-shot athlete isn’t exclusive to America…After all, I think we’ve run out of eyes to blacken…

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