Football has surfaced its ugly head again this week. Just days into the transfer window and three, well nearly three, transfers have already taken place and reaction to them has been about one thing. Money. The drug of the sport.
The transfers of Gareth Barry, Kaka, and now Cristiano Ronaldo can be argued as being just another addition to professional football’s obsession with the Pound, Euro and Dollar.
The game is continuing to be a law unto itself with Manchester United agreeing a world-record fee of £80million, for one of its biggest assets both on and off the pitch, during a bleak global recession.
The reality of this figure surfaces when considering an entire first team squad from the bottom end of the Premier League can scarily be bought with millions left over. With an extra £20million, Newcastle United FC could be bought entirely – putting a whole new meaning on the phrase “no player is worth more than a club”.
It begs the question: when will these monopoly priced transfer fees end? Michel Platini, president of UEFA, has reportedly blasted Real Madrid over its likely excessive transfer deal, but will it really be the final straw? Can the paying supporter hope for a level economic playing field which will allow their club a fair crack of the transfer window? Unlikely.
It doesn’t even seem to concern Real president Florentino Perez, who is sticking to his word of doing “everything possible” to bring the 24-year-old Portuguese winger to the Bernabeu.
And what about the sportsmen themselves? They surely get a say on matters. Are we that naïve enough to think these transfers are out of their control? No, didn’t think so.
Following Manchester City’s failed attempt at signing the 27-year-old Kaka, despite being the richest club in world football, which would have netted the player reported wages of £13.6million a year, Real secured his signature for a then world-record £56million fee.
Brazil’s football playmaker Kaka not only told us he belonged to Jesus during the January window – he may still feel that way and I’m not doubting his beliefs – but he completely fooled us all in believing he belonged to AC Milan forever.
The collapse of the Man City deal was applauded by some as it ridiculed a salary package of unimaginable figures and showed it would take more than money to guarantee Kaka’s services. So none of us can now argue against the La Liga giants making Kaka only the second best-paid player in the world with £200,000 a week over the six years of his contract – a total of more than £62million. Can we?
Tenth-placed Premier League side Man City did, however, sign last season’s Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry, who publicly desired Champions League football a year ago, for a ‘bargain’ £12million. Barry said his move to the Eastlands club, worth a reported £100,000 a week, was to do with Man City’s “ambition” as the main reason why he left the club he had served for twelve years.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s loyalty to Manchester United looks to have finally come to an end also. As early as May this year he was telling a Sky Sports reporter to stop asking “stupid” questions about whether he would be playing for Man U in 2009/2010 because “I want to stay here”. And what part does Sir Alex Ferguson play in this possible new world-record fee after he made a comment last December he would not “sell that mob a virus”, when referring to dealings with Real Madrid?
Will Ronaldo be missed if the deal goes through by the target date of 30 June? Of course, Man U supporters will miss him. His 123 goals in 323 appearances helped the club sustain continued success and not many other members of their squad could achieve 42-goals in one season, possibly not even 18-goals he amassed last season. He will be missed by the Old Trafford faithful and through their tears they will cling on little hope the Real deal does collapse. And if that does happen, Ronaldo would be due a £20million compensation fee it’s been suggested. But I doubt it will happen. He’s just a medical and few details away from realising his, to quote him, “dream move”.
The current World and European Player of the Year is leaving Man U for one reason only. Money. It’s £80million! The club are going to pocket an incredible profit on the £12million fee they paid when they signed him from Sporting Lisbon in 2003 and who could blame the club with debts totalling nearly £700million? And when have you ever known a footballer in his prime leave a club for less cash in their pocket? No, me neither. Ronaldo is reportedly going to pocket £107million over the six years of his Real contract, which will make him the highest paid player in world football.
How Sir Alex and Man U spend the £80million will in time prove why this world-record transfer bid has been accepted.
As for the future of Cristiano Ronaldo? Good riddance. And I’m not saying that because of my passion for Liverpool FC. And I am not saying it because more financial muscle can be gained on Anfield’s debt-ridden owners. It’s because Ronaldo has, for a long time, been a disease to the Premier League and represents everything negative about it. I just can not feel any admiration for him. Ever since he was caught on television cameras winking to the Portugal bench, immediately after his club team-mate Wayne Rooney was sent off, during his country’s 2006 World Cup clash against England, Ronaldo has persistently been booked for diving, has thrown tantrums, and shown no respect to others. He’s a bad loser, a poser, a faker and obsessed with only one thing: Cristiano Ronaldo. Adiós!