By Ediale Kingsley
Is Cristiano Ronaldo really going to leave Real Madrid? Should he? And if he does leave, which club would best absorb him? These are not rhetorical questions.
For a fee of £175m, £25m more than that Pogba’s deal. And that to put it in arithmetical comparison, you have the simple equation: Cristiano Ronaldo = Pogba + Iheanachor. Yes, the price tag on Kelechi Iheanachor is £25.
Now let’s do basic preferences check. Would you at this stage rather have a Ronaldo in your team or a Pogba+Kelechi? These are the things you want to consider though:
Ronaldo is now aged 32. He’s still scoring goals but not with the same dexterity he used to. The goals are a little fewer these days. The goals would only come pouring when you introduce some rest programs to his play time. We saw this at the beginning and middle of this past season. He had very few goals until the last quarter of the season when Zidane introduced resting him on some less important fixtures.
Pogba and Kelechi’s combination on the hand may not provide the same amount of goals that Ronaldo dishes out. Although it’s yet to be tested. Kelechi hasn’t had the opportunity of regular playing time. Pogba, on the other hand, has shown his importance. He was glaringly instrumental to the three trophies they lifted last season. So if you want to try option Pogba + Kelechi, you have some risks to take. Same way Ronaldo is a risk. Diminishing returns is setting in. If he needed rest at age 32. We don’t know what he will need at age 33. These are logics and has nothing to do with the Messi Vs. Ronaldo debate (besides, even Messi isn’t the same piece of perfection we knew sometimes ago, but clearly we know he doesn’t need rest to score more goals yet. But Messi’s story is for another day).
Another thing to consider is this: a Pogba + Kelechi in the EPL is one thing. The pair in LA Liga is another thing. Without being biased, this pair in Barcelona will produce almost the results gotten by Yaya Toure + Samuel E’to. Goals. If you put the pair in Real Madrid or even Atletico Madrid…the chances that it will be super productive is high.
Equally, a Ronaldo of age 32+ in LA Liga is one thing. A Ronaldo of this age in EPL is another. With these rest programs, good coaching staff and a team with good depth, Ronaldo may not goof in Spain. Can I say so of this Ronaldo of age 32+ in the EPL? Because he is a special player, I can only say ‘I doubt’. And yes, I seriously doubt.
Manchester City and Manchester United both wants the talismanic goal poacher. But can we also test which of these teams is more suitable? To start with he will never do more in any of them that he would do in Real Madrid.
The test: for good coaching staff. Mourinho and Pep are world class managers. Pep over the years has been better off with young players and Mourinho has done better using experienced players. Mourinho managed Ronaldo at Real Madrid. The relationship management that ensued was almost a disaster. Both of them are Portuguese and have the pride and ego of people from that side of the world. Their achievement level makes theirs particularly in the superlative. Pep also had a thing of such with Messi. However, theirs weren’t ego based. And it wasn’t as frequent as it was with the Portuguese pride-stars. In all of these, we can’t give any of the managers any edge above each other as to who will manage Ronaldo better.
Test for depth. Manchester City will have a solid team this season. But like we all know about building a team. First, you get a solid 11, next goal that follows is having a good bench. That solid 11 + good bench is what produces depth. We don’t expect ManCity to have that next season. ManUnited has a better chance of achieving that this season. They got statement signings last season and if they can make good all their mouthwatering chase. Then they will solidify their depth.
Taking all these into consideration. On paper, ManUnited seems to be best for Ronaldo.
The Chinese League is also calling and PSG still looks like a good option. I think he will score more goals and record better performance in France compared to England. But he will have a better media in England (great publicity, good or bad).
Whatever happens, he is already an achieved player and should he even retire today. He would have done enough to last him a lasting mark in the history books of football. For all we care, this may even be his way of asking Real Madrid to increase his earnings. Perhaps in chase of Messi whose new deal sees him earn £ 48, 000 per day and £ 336, 000 per week (Ronaldo is £ 39, 143 per day, £ 274, 000 per week).
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