You have read the reasons why Manchester United shouldn’t sign Ronaldo. Now for the good news sell…
1) He’s sodding brilliant
The insistence on making comparisons between – and a subsequent judgement call on – Ronaldo and Lionel Messi is frustrating primarily because it threatens to take away the majesty of both. In five years’ time we will look back in wonder at how luck we were to witness two of the top five players in the history of the game playing at the same time, two pantheons of the sport competing directly against each other on such a frequent basis.
You can go here to read any number of ridiculous statistics, but here are a choice few:
– Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player in the history of football to score more than 50 goals in a season on six consecutive occasions.
– Cristiano Ronaldo has scored as many La Liga hat-tricks (32) since 2009 as Manchester United have scored Premier League hat-tricks overall.
– Cristiano Ronaldo is the top goalscorer in the entire history of Europe’s top six leagues (372).
Why wouldn’t you want him?
2) Willy-waving on the pitch (non-literal)
The Premier League might be the best/most exciting/most intense/ most watchable (delete as appropriate according to your patriotism) league in the world, but it is impossible to deny that it is no longer the natural home for the best players in the world. The last time an English-based player finished in the top three of the Ballon D’Or was 2008, when Fernando Torres finished third and a certain Cristiano Ronaldo won. We have lagged behind La Liga and the Bundesliga.
Were Manchester United to sign the reigning World Player of the Year it really would be considered a coup, sending out a message to the rest of the Premier League that United mean business. In one blow it would take United from second favourites to favourites for the Premier League title, and also lift their support into a state of frenzy. There is a lot to be said for a transfer that truly shifts the mood of a club.
3) And willy-waving off it too
You could argue until several herds of cows come home about who is the most marketable footballer in the world, but Ronaldo is obviously in that elite few that we can reasonably label as game-changers for a club. For what it’s worth, recent reports from the London School of Marketing and Repucom both placed Ronaldo at the top.
As with Paul Pogba last summer, the return of Ronaldo would be brilliant for Manchester United’s business interests, a commercial director’s wet dream. As per an article by Tom Adams for Eurosport, Hookit estimated that Ronaldo generated £371m of value for Nike across 329 social media posts, which is frankly ludicrous.
United would have greater weight in negotiations for every commercial deal. Just think of the bloody shirt sales in the Far East alone. Just think of the pre-season tour ticket sales. Just think of the social media engagement.
4) The perfect role model?
“Ronaldo was a natural talent, a rough diamond, but he crammed in thousands and thousands of hours of graft to turn himself into the perfect player,” Manchester United’s former development coach Mike Clegg said.
“He would be in the gym with me doing core work, then he would do activation, then his actual football training. After training, Cristiano would come back into the gym and do some power work for his legs. Then he would go home, eat the right food, swim, sleep, where I am sure he dreamed about football, and come back in the next morning. He did that for five or six years and, knitted together, that made him become the player who was sold for £80million.”
The effect of Ronaldo’s arrival on the opportunities afforded to the club’s young players can be ignored, because United are going to sign a big-name striker in some form anyway. What he would do is provide the perfect example to younger players of how hard work and dedication can be vital ingredients in creating one of the greatest players in the world.
It may well be entirely unquantifiable, but what impact could the daily presence of Ronaldo have on Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Paul Pogba?
5) Takes the pressure off other players
“I hope next summer he is not anymore the highest transfer fee and that the pressure goes to somebody else – because if the transfer fee was half of it everybody would say ‘what a bu’ he’s playing more than good. But everybody expects performance according to that huge transfer fee and that brings pressure and sometimes unfair analysis.”
Those were the words of Jose Mourinho when discussing Pogba last month. Manchester United’s manager probably didn’t have the signing of Cristiano Ronaldo in mind when imploring the world record to be broken this summer, but that quote does hold some resonance here.
With Ronaldo back at Old Trafford and hogging the limelight as only he can and desires, United’s other players would be shielded from the spotlight’s glare. Pogba, Victor Lindelof, Rashford and Martial could get on with getting on, without every move being analysed. Could Ronaldo be the most expensive lightning rod in history?