RONALDO is class and I have said so many many times, so has everyone else with any emotional investment in Manchester United. United fans offer no apologies for the support we offered that player when he was blamed for everything and the kitchen sink at the World Cup, we are reaping the benefits of the boy being at the right club for him at that stage of his career and now at this, the squeaky time of the season. Newspapers make me laugh, every single part of the media makes me laugh. During this season at various points we have had “he’s off, he can’t play in England again”, “He won’t play with Rooney” – tabloid exclusives apparently, who were then sent wheeling backwards when he didn’t in fact leave England, leave Manchester United, hate Wayne Rooney or even have a problem with the manager. The only problem was that Sir Alex hadn’t updated his phone book with Ronnie’s new number, easily done, Sir Alex, easily done.
Then the Gods of the Spanish Press over at Marca thumb their nose at Ronaldo’s happiness at United and the club’s stance that he is not for sale, by reminding us of all the times Real Madrid have been told a player was not for sale. Yet again, if the lad himself said anything it was big news, if he said I am happy at United, they added ‘at the moment’, if he said nothing on the subject it was taken as a sure sign he is leaving. Manchester United and Ronaldo himself cannot win in this situation. The club and the player are making all the right moves, discussing a new contract, and the boy is making statements with his feet. The statement being, United = Premiership. Full stop. If there are more competitions that come up between then and now, you get the feeling that our boy Ronaldo would happily represent Manchester United on his own. In this form, he would probably beat the opposition too.
When the media cannot write about him being unsettled, leaving in the summer, being unwilling to play with his team mates or being unhappy at anything else, there is always the stick of the diving to beat Cristiano with. The lad dived, there was no contact, he’s always doing it, right? Wrong! Ronaldo has occasionally gone the route of the diving swan in the pursuit of a free kick or a penalty but he is doing it less and less now and this is the point where everyone has started to look for it. Gareth Southgate, and Middlesbrough can moan all they like about Ronaldo. The fact is on the camera for everyone to see, contact was made and the penalty was given. If Jonathan Woodgate is such a classy defender why on earth did he stick his leg there in the first place, the referee has a choice to make then, but he doesn’t if the defender stays on his feet. Easy to say, hard to do, I know. Andy Johnson of Everton got the same treatment as our player and it took referee official Keith Hackett to look at the ‘dive’ footage from the Everton player, at which point he conceded that the majority of them were in fact stone wall penalties. As are the majority, these days, of Ronaldo’s.
Ronaldo’s image goes ahead of him, in both good and bad ways. Good because you know you’ll get entertained, bad, because everyone seems to have the preconceived idea that he will dive at some point to gain a penalty.
Ronaldo even fills football debate shows when he is not even there, on Sky Sports last night one of the discussions was whether Cristiano would make a mockery of the player of the year award given the controversy that surrounds him in terms of diving. Sky Sports have in their time added to this controversy but on the most recent ‘incident’ even most of their pundits were sure. Penalty. As for things like this affecting his chances of getting the Player of the Year award, they shouldn’t because without all that he has had his best season, when no-one else expected it. Of course he is the player of the year; his season goes beyond simple goal contribution.
I salute our Ronaldo for coming in front of the cameras and giving the interview he gave. Only when you have true class can you appear so arrogant (in the best possible way), “maybe it’s because I am too good!” I couldn’t have said it better myself, and clearly when he makes your team look goosed, all by himself, the way to take him out is to hack him down. Clearly this is okay, because Gareth ‘bullboy shoes’ Southgate admitted that ‘sometimes we all would like to do that’. Well, that’s okay then, Gaz, it’s him and you were losing and everyone would love to do it. Shut up! I remember Roy Keane stamping on you when you played for Crystal Palace, and getting sent off in the Semi Final of the FA Cup. But it was okay, because it was you and everyone in the world wanted to step on your face, then and now!
I’m preaching to the converted here, that I know, but I wish everyone would leave Ronaldo alone so that we can enjoy what is unravelling right in front of us, the genius of a number seven. I’m not saying he’s leaving, nor am I saying he will. I’m just saying that he is playing out of his skin and if and when we win this bloody trophy back off Chelsea, it will be due in no small part, to him. But everyone who matters, his fans and his manager – already know that.