Manchester United fans rallied behind Cristiano Ronaldo following the dreadful behaviour he received in this country after the World Cup 06. The press, football fans, rival players and pundits were all after him, criticising and berating him, in quite shocking fashion. This country became obsessed with him and that obsession is still present two years later.
To counter balance this ridiculous behaviour, United fans got behind Ronaldo in full force. His songs were sung every week, his name was cheered loudly when the team lists were read out and we defended him to anyone who would listen.
Things have changed somewhat since then, following the ‘transfer saga’ that has ensued due to Ronaldo’s vague comments and the pestering of Real Madrid. Yesterday I asked whether Ronaldo, like Barry earlier in the week, could expect boos if/when he plays for United again. A slim majority of 53% voted that he shouldn’t be booed, which shows there are large numbers of United fans who feel they deserve to voice their displeasure over Ronaldo’s behaviour.
Booing your own players is not something I’ve ever agreed with, and whilst I’ve agreed with the sentiments behind the booings Rio Ferdinand and Kieran Richardson have received over recent years, I’ve never joined in. However, in certain situations, I think it is acceptable for sections of the crowd to let the players know what they are doing is unacceptable. Booing because of poor form is something I’ll never condone though.
However, whilst I’m not best pleased with Ronaldo, I resent hearing everyone’s opinion on the situation. This is a matter for United fans, and whether we choose to forgive or not is our prerogative. What the hell does it have to do with Hansen, Venables or Wright??
“Whether Ronaldo stays or not we’ll have to wait and see. Man United have made a stand and it’s good a stand has come from the top,” said the former Liverpool man, Alan YSB Hansen. “It’s a bad system where you can sign a four-year deal, win the Champions League and win The Premier League and be the best player in the country – and possibly the best player in the world – and still turn around and say you’re unhappy. Why are you unhappy? You’ve just won the Champions League. You’ve just won The Premier League at a great club. But ‘I’m unhappy, I want to go somewhere else’. I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with that, there’s a flaw in that system somewhere that people can be allowed to do that and its great Manchester United have taken a stand.”
Maybe super pundit, Hansen, would like to show us comments from Ronaldo where he has claimed that he is unhappy? Maybe he can show us where Ronaldo has said “I want to leave United and go somewhere else” ?
“What Ronaldo is doing completely cuts through the principles we fought for. And it hurts,” said former Chelsea and Leeds man Terry Venables. “Not one of us ever imagined players could be given a contract and then be free to walk away at a whim, no matter how many years were still remaining. We wouldn’t have dreamt of asking for such a thing. Ronaldo has four years left on a highly lucrative deal that he was overjoyed to sign 15 months ago. What on earth gives him the right, now, to just throw it in the air and say ‘I’ve had enough, I’m off’? It’s selfish, it’s immoral, it’s potentially devastating for the game as a whole. It’s wrong. And it’s only any good for Ronaldo.”
In Ian Wright’s column in The Sun, he wrote an open letter to Ronaldo. “As a player, there’s no doubt what you’re capable of,” said the former Arsenal man. “As a man, you’re not showing any class whatsoever. You’re also failing to show any respect to either Alex Ferguson or the Manchester United fans. To be honest, I’m embarrassed for you. You’re now 23 and you should not be acting quite so immature. I understand if it’s your dream to play for Real but you owe it to United to be patient — and that’s why you should stay. Doesn’t the affection of United’s fans and your team-mates mean anything to you?”
If you’re a red, then as far as I’m concerned, you can slag Ronaldo off until you’re blue in the face. As a supporter of this club, then we should be more than entitled to hold our opinion and speak freely about it. But I’ve heard more than enough from these ‘pundits’ who couldn’t give a shit less about United and despite what they claim, are likely thoroughly enjoying this saga. They put on this ‘how could he do this to Manchester United?’ act, but you know that they’ll love any situation that shows United up, and also has the possibility of damaging our title chances.
Whilst their sentiments might be ones we agree with entirely, believing that Ronaldo’s reluctance to publicly commit himself to the club is out of order, I don’t see what their place is in talking on the United fans’ behalf. Since when have these three men given a shit less about what is best for United or our fans? Why do they care whether Ronaldo is happy or not? This odd obsession this country has with Ronaldo seemingly has not limits.
So Hansen, Wright, Venables, and anyone else who makes a living from indulging us all with their superior understanding of the beautiful game, keep your nose out of this. This is United business and if we want to slate him, we will do, but you can keep your noses out of it!