By Yusuf Mutiu Olaitan
World football in the last three days has been buzzing. For more than sixty days, the transfer of players across Europe has been on. Footballers are swapping clubs. Clubs are breaking banks for players. That wasn’t supposed to be news; it was supposed not to catch our attention, but then, there was Messi who left his boyhood club for Paris, there was Sergio Ramos who divorced his long time marriage to the same destination as Messi. And then and there, Gigi Donnaruma and Gino Wijnaldum followed in their footsteps. All of these were to be the biggest highlight of the window.
Not until Cristiano Ronaldo officially communicated to Juventus’ hierarchies that he wants out. As the star that Ronaldo is, Juventus were left with no option than to respect his decision. Instantly, a move to Manchester was on the card. That time, it was the blue side of the city that were interested. The interest was so ambitious that transfer expert Fabrizio Romano seemed to lose focus on every other transfer but Ronaldo. He was tweeting almost every minute about Ronaldo move.
Everyone thought Ronaldo was going to be playing against his former team – Manchester United. But at the verge of the completion of the deal, after it was reported that Manchester City had agreed on personal terms with CR7, Manchester City pulled the plug, and the deal was collapsed only because they weren’t willing to pay a dime to secure the signature of arguably the greatest footballer of all time. Why won’t they want to do so? Of course, Messi had just switched Catalonia for Paris at no cost.
As all of these were going on, the legends of the red side of Manchester with their uppities – Giggs, Ferdinand, Evra, Saha, Rooney and the rest of them were imploring – covertly and overtly their club, and at the same time, Cristiano to embrace each other once more. And boom! It happened. Manchester United officially made a bid believed to be around £24 million to Juventus, and all was settled. Once more, Ronaldo will be announced as a Manchester United player. Hurray!
Before there was a change of decision from Manchester City and Guardiola on Ronaldo, there had been lots of reactions from the so-called Manchester United legends and fans around the world. All of them claiming that had Ronaldo make the move to their rival, he would be regarded as a traitor by the United faithful. Some even went as far as to say that he’d be disgraced in England if he had made such a move. Laughable. Like it’s not football. Like Ronaldo signed a lifetime contract with Manchester United.
If you didn’t know, let me help you. In football, crazier things have happened, and it won’t just stop because it’s Manchester United. Italy’s Roberto Baggio, who was known as “The Divine Ponytail”, was a star for Fiorentina in the late 1980s before moving to Juventus in a record $11 million at the turn of the decade.
Mass civil disobedience erupted in Florence upon the announcement of the deal, during which 50 people were injured as bricks, chains, and even Molotov cocktails were thrown, according to The Gentleman Ultra.
Fiorentina’s president Flavio Pontello, who was forced to take refuge by locking himself in the Stadio Artemio Franchi during the riots, later sold the club out of fear for his own safety. I doubt anything close to this would have happened if Ronaldo had made the move to Man City.
We all know that the rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is as sour as anything in this world, and in July 2001, Sol Campbell made a direct move to Highbury Stadium from Tottenham. Hell didn’t loose. As expected, there were grumbles for few months and nothing more. Such a move is tensional, for it was a direct move much more complicated than Ronaldo leaving Juventus to join Manchester City.
But what do we have? The proud and self-upgraded Manchester United legends believing to be always at the top of everything. They behave as if they are more legendary to their club than other footballers with their various clubs.
No one would tell me Ryan Giggs legendary status is bigger than that of Steven Gerrard at Liverpool; or can anyone tell us if Paul Scholes legendary status is more confirmed than that of Tony Adams at Arsenal; maybe someone will say Gary Neville was to Man United what John Terry wasn’t for Chelsea. Someone should tell those United legends to rest. All the chats with Cristiano they shared online had nothing to do with his decision to later rejoined Manchester United. Manchester City pulled the plug, for they didn’t want to part with pounds.
More funnier how Wayne Rooney faced the media and said that “Ronaldo cannot join Manchester City.” Someone should tell these guys that they can’t decide for anyone. Worse things have happened. And nothing happened afterwards. Even Johan Cruyff left Ajax for Feyenoord in 1983. You can do well to find about the rivalry between Ajax Amsterdam and Feyenoord.
More so, the rivalry war between the two Manchester clubs isn’t the most hostile in the land. I wouldn’t have been so much bothered had Ronaldo was on his way to Liverpool while all of those were happening. The rivalry between Liverpool and the Red Devils is zillion times hostile and deeper than the one which exists between the two clubs from Manchester. The so-called ‘Legends of Manchester United’ should rest. We have seen crazier things in this game. Had Ronaldo moved to the blue side of Manchester, heaven will not fall. And Ronaldo will still be the GOAT he’s known to be.
Dearest football fans,
If you think CR7 will not thrive because he’s a 36 years old footballer, you’re a staunch hypocrite. It’s disgusting how some of you believed that Messi would make PSG flawless but think Ronaldo is too old to make impacts at Manchester United. This is the same 36-year-old man who won the golden boot at the just concluded European Championship. The same “old man” who outscored Chelsea’s all-time most expensive signing (Lukaku) in Italian Serie A just last season. If you think this man is coming to Britain just for the fun of it, you’re a big joke! In fact, Ronaldo in that Manchester United lineup makes them the overwhelming favourite for the English Premiership this season.
He surely will deliver goals that will be enough to make them go places. Trust me, CR7 will be more than a goalscorer; he will lead; motivate; fight; decide, and do all that is expected of a Cristiano Ronaldo.
If you’re a Manchester United faithful, what you have just got in Ronaldo within your rank is an “old lion”, which will forever be dangerous than a “young dog”. Congratulations!
I doubt any defender in the EPL will be delighted to go shoulders to shoulders with CR7. The king is back; keep off. There is danger around Manchester United!