Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Manchester United to play for Real Madrid at some point in his career. He has never made any attempt to hide the fact he would one day like to play in Spain. Despite a deal being done every summer, according to the press at least, he’s stayed a United player.
However, when he does move on, whether it’s this summer or five years from now, we have to understand his motivation. It’s a childhood dream of his to play for Real Madrid, a dream his only parent shares, so who are we to judge that?
For example, if you were a professional footballer and you made it big with Inter Milan, whilst still being grateful to that club and the fans, you would still always see playing for Manchester United as the ultimate goal.
Gareth Barry made his way through the ranks at Aston Villa and became their captain. You would imagine this would make him as loyal as they come, but unfortunately for Villa fans, it doesn’t.
Last summer he openly declared he wanted to leave Villa for Liverpool, claiming nothing was going to change his mind. His reason? He wanted Champions League football when he was at the peak of his career. Whilst his behaviour wasn’t good enough, everyone could understand his point of view. He was getting close to his peak and he wanted to play football on the biggest stage, fair enough. Playing for a top four club would also increase his chances of playing more regularly for his country, fair enough.
So, what’s Barry’s motivation?
April 19th 2008
“I have to look at myself now and be selfish in what I want to do,” said Barry. “I’m 27, and the next two or three years will be the peak of my career. I think I can still improve on my game. It’s going to be a selfish situation and those questions (to O’Neill) need to be asked. You can never guarantee winning medals. If you move to a top four club or stay here, nothing can be guaranteed. But what you want is to hear that the club are doing the right things to try and achieve that.”
May 1st 2008
“I obviously want him to stay. He’s a terrific example on the pitch to all our players,” said Curtis Davies. “But if Gareth decided he wanted to play in the UEFA Champions League next season, I wouldn’t hold it against him.”
May 12th 2008
“If your captain wants to leave, it is a problem, but that’s football,” said Benitez. “I have been very clear. The player had said before that he wanted to play Champions League football. We knew that and so tried to sign a good player. It is that simple.”
June 3rd 2008
“Champions League football helps any player,” said Barry. “You only have to look at the England squad to see the amount of players who get in the squad and start the games – the majority play in the Champions League. That’s all about the decision that will have to be made by myself. Liverpool are in the Champions League and Villa are trying to push for that. That’s all part of my decision if a bid gets accepted.”
“Gareth has spoken to Martin since he returned from England’s game in Trinidad and told him how he feels,” said Barry’s agent, Alex Black. “At this stage of his career Gareth wants to be playing Champions League football and believes this is his chance to do it.”
“Gareth Barry has stated in discussions with our manager he would like to leave Aston Villa to join Liverpool,” read an Aston Villa statement. “But Liverpool’s bid for the player has been rejected and they have been informed of Villa’s continued position in this matter.”
“My mind’s made up, I want to join Liverpool,” said Barry. “There’s no going back, it’s time for me to move on. I’m desperate to play Champions League football and that’s why I have to leave Villa.”
Aston Villa missed out on Champions League football again this season, so it was only a matter of time before he was linked to Liverpool again. Aged 28-years-old now, it really was time for him to make that big move of his career to a team that could offer him the Champions League football he so desperately craved. After all, it was his strong desire to play Champions League football which meant he was able to abandon the club he’d spent his entire professional career with, twelve years.
However, as it turns out, he isn’t arsed about European football at all. In fact, he just wants a big pay day, with Manchester City not in any European competitions next season, yet him still eager to sign up for five years. Despite all the support he received from their fans after dicking the club about last summer, he’s gone on to ditch Villa, not for a Champions League club, but a team who finished 12 points worse off than Villa last season! So much for his European dream!
By the time he is 29-years-old, they might be in the Europa League (or whatever it’s called these days) again but how old will he be before they’re in the proper European competition?
Since becoming The Richest Team In The World, City have actually got worse, would you believe? Last season they finished 9th with 55 points, this season they finished 10th with 50 points.
As I told my City supporting mates when they were running around with tea-towels on their head (OK, none of my mates actually did that), having that amount of money but not having the success to back it up will never attract the kind of players you want to have at the club. Barry desperately wanted Champions League football at the peak of his career, but even if City somehow become a top four team within the next two or three seasons (don’t laugh!), Barry will have already missed his peak. So his transfer wasn’t about aspirations for himself or his career, rather greed. Who wouldn’t take a £60k a week salary increase? Well, players who actually wanted to win things and play top flight football, that’s who. That’s why Kaka, Berbatov, Villa, Henry etc. have all told City to get stuffed. Footballers are mercenary, no doubt about it, but this kind of player, the one who sells out his boyhood team and give up on his dreams of Champions League football during his peak, is in a whole new league. For money to become more important than loyalty, medals, quality of football or European competition means you’re in a very sorry state indeed.
There’s no way Liverpool would have paid him the £100k a week City reportedly will do, but a lower salary would have been evened out with Champions League football, something Barry was supposed to be desperate for.
Is he World class? No of course not, but he’s certainly a good player. But clearly he wouldn’t cut it at a top four club, because the best players at the top four clubs have aspirations for success and great football as well as money, whereas Barry has made it obviously there’s only one thing he’s interested in. If he was after trophies, he wouldn’t be joining a club who’s won fuck all for 33 years!
Of course I expect City fans to be pleased by this news. They were giddy enough when they signed Bellamy and Bridge, so god knows how they’ll take this one! But the fact remains Barry has done the dirty on his former club here and his only excuse is money. If he was 23-years-old and bought in to this “Manchester City working project” bullshit, then fair enough, but Barry has taken a step down when he said his reasons for leaving would be to take a step up. What a wanker, but a rich wanker!
Made in Manchester is available for just £5. It includes 30 articles from the country's best football writers about graduates from the Manchester United academy. Everyone who buys a copy enters a competition to win the new home shirt. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.