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  :: News ::


Ronaldo Leaving - What Next For Manchester United ?

In an exclusive interview with Guillem Balague almost immediately after Portugal's exit from Euro 2008, Cristiano Ronaldo made no efforts to conceal his desire to play for Real Madrid the coming season.

The entire text of the interview (borrowed in totality from the interviewer's blog) makes interesting reading for the neutral:

Guillem Balague: What feeling have you got after the defeat to Germany?

Ronaldo: What feeling?

Guillem: The one after being knocked out.

Ronaldo: We didnít expect this. We wanted to continue in the tournament, but we didnít do enough. We werenít strong enough.

Guillem: The little details were won by Germany. You didnít seem concentrated enough.

Ronaldo: I didnít do anything wrong. I did what I had to do but the team made mistakes and that is why we lost.

Guillem: What now, Ronaldo? We are expecting an announcement

Ronaldo: Let's see in a couple of days. The tournament is over and I am going to reach an agreement.

Guillem: Are you going on holiday now?

Ronaldo: I am going to have an operation now. I have had for three months a problem on my foot. I have been playing with pain. I will have an operation, a good recuperation and we will see after that

Guillem: If you wanted to stay at Manchester United, why donít you say it?

Ronaldo: You will soon know what I want. You do know what I want and that is why I donít want to say anything else. Let's wait. I want to give more details that is why I cannot say much more

Guillem: When will that take place?

Ronaldo: In a couple of days. I am going to give my opinion in two days. I am going to say what I want, but things donít depend only on me, that is why we have to wait.

Guillem: Are you going to do a press conference, a communique?

Ronaldo: A public note

Guillem: Do you have to talk to Ferguson?

Ronaldo: I donít know what I have to say to him. I have to say what I want and what I think.

Guillem: What you have to say, will that upset Ferguson?

Ronaldo: It is my opinion, that is why I donít mind if people get upset. It is my decision. It is what I want.

Guillem: When did you take that decision?

Ronaldo: Some time ago, before the Champions League final.

Guillem: Is it something personal or is it for football reasons?

Ronaldo: We were competing and I didnít want to say anything because it is a very important decision. I didnít want to say anything here because I wanted to be focused on Portugal. But now it is finished and I am going to say.

Guillem: Is it a personal problem or sporting problem

Ronaldo: It is a personal thing. It is something I want, something I dream of.

Guillem: And that your family dreams of too?

Ronaldo: That is true. You all know what I want. I cannot say anything else. In two days you will hear from me.

Guillem: Do you think it is going to be very difficult to get out of United?

Ronaldo: It is always difficult. It is not only one person deciding, it is many people, but it can be a very good thing for everybody.

Guillem: Do you feel what you are about to decide is a step forward in your career, a dream?

Ronaldo: It is a dream, a step forward, you can call it what you want. For me it is a great opportunity, and as Scolari says, that train passes by only once, and we have to take advantage of it.

Guillem: Ah, but thats not fair, Scolari is going to be the new Chelsea manager and wants you away from him!

Ronaldo: That is why, he took advantage of his change, that opportunity, and other people have to take advantage of opportunities too.

Guillem: You know that when you return to Manchester people will be upset with you.

Ronaldo: But that will pass, a couple of good goals and people will be happy.

Guillem: Will the key be to talk to Ferguson?

Ronaldo: I will do a public note and we will then see what will happen

Guillem: Do you think your dream will come true?

Ronaldo: I really hope so, let's see.

Guillem: What about the operation?

Ronaldo: I will be seen by the doctors of United in a couple of days.

Guillem: You will talk to your club first?

Ronaldo: Yes, I will talk to them first, and then in three or four days I will be operated and then I will start the recuperation to get better soon.

Guillem: Is it true that you never took a call from Ferguson?

Ronaldo: It is not true

Guillem: But have you spoken to him?

Ronaldo: No. I was in a very important competition and we had nothing to say to each other.

Guillem: Are you convinced that in three or four days everything can be sorted?

Ronaldo: Yes, let's see, in the next few days we will have more details.

Clearly, Ronaldo is in no mindset to continue at Old Trafford (had he even been slightly hesitant, he would not have made such sweeping statements). And whatever Sir Alex tells the press, he knows the futility and foolishness in persisting with a player whose heart lies elsewhere.

More importantly, United's locker room atmosphere "appeared" to be splendid the whole of last season and the gaffer wouldn't want to test that too much by going out of his way too much to keep Ronaldo at OT.

After all, a club with the history and current status of Manchester United deserves players committed to it, at least as much as its fans are!

So, just say Real's bid (tentatively priced at 70 million euros) for Ronaldo gets accepted. What do United do then, to keep their title defences on track?

First and foremost, I feel United need another quality striker. To choose from Karim Benzema, Samuel Eto'o, Klaas Jan Huntellar, Dimitar Berbatov, and Rocque Santa Cruz can be confusing, to say the least.

Should we go for the EPL-hardened likes of Berbatov or Santa Cruz, or go in for the proven Cameroonian Eto'o? Or perhaps, settle for the "best years in front of them" Benzema or Huntellar?

It is a tough choice to make, but if you consider that he will rarely need to play as a lone striker (with Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez already there) and necessarily has to be a good finisher comfortable with the pace and style of United, I guess Huntellar is the man for us!

Eto'o probably comes a close second on my list, but Klaas Jan Huntellar, adept at playing hitman and equally effective with his link-up play, is my pick for the striker job! He is young, malleable, and can easily be used as a sub. Verdictóthe perfect third striker, and just the man United need.

Next, our defence may look well organised, but where are the safety valves, in case of injuries to Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, or Patrice Evra?

Though Wes Brown, Gary Neville, Michael Silvestre, and John O'Shea look like good depth, the picture might appear very different if the crisis strikes. Plus, due to the question mark over Neville and the fact that I don't really fancy Brown going forward as a big asset to the side, I feel Sergio Ramos would be an ideal buy.

Young, quick, precociously talented, and very promising, Ramos, in my mind, is not yet the complete product. But, in EPL games against the lower and mid-table sides, his presence might just beef up our attack.

Plus, he is definitely one for the future.

Having said that, my first choice would actually be Philip Lahmóa finished product and someone who can man both flanks with equal panache. The only hitch might be to prise him out of Bayern, where he appears very happily settled. However, a really high bid for him might just do the trick if the player himself is pretty open about his future.

VerdictóGet Lahm with big money if possible. If not possible, then get Ramos for sure in exchange for Ronaldo.

Finally, who replaces Cristiano? Robinho, David Silva, Bastian Schwensteiger, and Ronaldinho (never say never) all probably look obvious options. I, for one, would go for a double buy.

After all, Giggs looked slightly over the hill for partrs of last season. And Nani is not yet the finished article. So, it is Robinho (Real exchange, alongwith Ramos if needed) plus Simao (yes!) for me.

In my mind, with a little bit of tinkering, both can serve United excellently for the next three to four years. In fact, if the temperamental Brazilian winger gets going at OT, then he can end up making Real look really foolish.

And of course, we also have Ji-Sung Park as a ready-made option in this position.

VerdictóRonaldo's boots are too large to be filled by just one. So, go in for Robinho (should be easy, since Real are ready for that) and Simao (who shouldn't be too expensive either, maybe 12-13 million euros).

So, the end picture looks somewahat like this: Ronaldo, Saha and MAYBE one more defender(maybe Silvestre, though not sure) leaving.

Ronaldo should easily account for Robinho plus Ramos plus a tentative figure of 30 million euros(understatement).

Add Saha's 6-8 million, and no outside funding will be required to prise away Huntellar and Simao (or somebody younger, if possible). Which means, at the end of the day, the Glazers are happy, Ronaldo is happy, Sir Alex is "happy" and United fans will be as bullish as ever at the start of the coming season.

Source ::

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