Each hour that passes, it appears, brings Cristiano Ronaldo closer to Real Madrid next season. Ronaldo continues to be non-committal to Manchester United, despite the fact that his fingerprints still haven't been wiped from the Champions League cup--and despite the fact that he has four years remaining on his contract with the Reds.
The Times of London reports that Ronaldo is looking for 150,000 pounds a week, a 30,000-pound raise over his current United deal. Real Madrid reportedly is willing to pony up a 50 million pound transfer fee. Marca of Madrid reports that Ronaldo has agreed in principle to a transfer to Real.
With numbers such as those floating around--Ronaldo's talent notwithstanding--does United see a realistic return on that investment if it matches? It wouldn't be a surprise should United silently capitulate to the move. "Here's your hat, what's your hurry Cristiano?"
United's American owners, the Glazers, have had tremendous times at United (two EPL titles, one Champions League), unlike their Liverpool counterparts. Is it enough for them? Or are they willing to keep this team together, a team that could approach dynasty status in England and win maybe two or three more Premiership titles and contend for at the very least, an annual place in the Champions League semifinals.
To Ronaldo's credit, he isn't setting phony expectations for United fans:
“I never promise nothing. I don’t promise nothing to my mum. I don’t promise nothing to the supporters. I want to stay, I want to stay, but the future no one knows.”Ronaldo scored 42 goals this season, 31 in the Premiership. He also bagged United's first goal in Wednesday's Champions League final against Chelsea. He was spared ignominy by a soggy pitch and John Terry after stutter-stepping through his penalty kick miss. The kid lives a charmed life. And the charms may extend on the international level when Euro 2008 kicks off. Portugal are among a short list of favorites, and whatever success the team has, hinges on Ronaldo's creativity and scoring.
He makes anyone an instant contender, not that Real needs the help after two straight La Liga wins. Ronaldo will sell a lot of shirts and be a huge attraction on those pre-season tours of Asia. The clincher, however, may lie in the simple fact that Real can afford to pay the exorbitant transfer fee and meet his contract demands. It may make too much business sense for United not to say no.