“I am delighted,” Cristiano Ronaldo said last April, after signing a new five year contract. “I spoke with Sir Alex Ferguson about my future and everyone knew that I wanted to stay. I am very happy at the club”
A year later, Ronaldo’s future with the club seems less clear, with the player still not confirming whether it is United or Real Madrid where he wants to play next season. Instead, he has sent out a series of mixed messages, leaving everyone in the dark over what he wants.
UEFA president, Michel Platini, ignorantly waded in to the argument over Ronaldo, claiming Real Madrid were well within their rights to tap him up via the media.
The situation has been taken a step higher today, with another anti-English football representative giving his opinion on the situation. Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, has likened Ronaldo’s situation to ‘modern day slavery’ and believes he is fully entitled to walk away from the contract he signed 15 months ago.
Like with Platini, Blatter is frustrated to see English clubs dominating football on the World stage. Whilst Platini simply criticises us in front of the media, Blatter has gone as far as trying to change EU laws to see the end of English football superiority!
With so many talented foreign players making their way to the Premiership, improving the quality of our football, Blatter has put across a ridiculous idea with the aim of restricting how many non-British players we can have in our teams.
“You cannot compare a worker with a football player,” Blatter said, trying to justify his point of view. “You cannot consider a footballer like any normal worker because you need 11 to play a match – and they are more artists than workers.”
Actors, are they workers? Brain surgeons? Designers? Any person who earns an insane amount of money because of their profession? To suggest that footballers are somehow a rare breed of person, who deserve different laws to everyone else working in any other profession, is bordering on insanity.
In 1995, the European Court of Justice, Europe’s highest court, gave all sports professionals within the EU more freedom to change clubs in a decision known as the ‘Bosman ruling’, named after Belgian player Jean-Marc Bosman, who took the case which changed the face of the game.
One EU official described Blatter’s latest move as something which could be just as damaging to the sport. “Bosman was costly for the sport,” he said. “This could be even more costly for FIFA, UEFA, but especially any club which decides to go down this path.”
Just this week, further weight was added to Blatter’s opposition, when Europe’s richest and most powerful clubs formally announced their disagreement with his plan.
So, it appears as if Blatter enjoys the humiliation that comes with being wrong, and has decided to cast his opinion on the Ronaldo transfer saga. The very fact that the FIFA and UEFA presidents feel the need to even discuss it is evidence enough that Real Madrid have been far too blatent with their chase for our player.
“If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it’s not good for the player and for the club,” Blatter said. “There’s too much modern slavery, in transferring players or buying players. We are trying now to intervene in such cases. The reaction to the Bosman law is to make long-lasting contracts to keep the players, and then if he wants to leave there is only one solution, he has to pay his contract. The important thing is, we should also protect the player. I’m always in favour of protecting the player, and if the player he wants to leave, let him leave.”
1. When Cristiano Ronaldo calls a press conference to declare he wants to leave Manchester United and wants to join Real Madrid, maybe then, and only then, could Blatter get away with making these comments. The fact that Ronaldo has so far only pissed off our fans with talk of ‘dreams’, whilst letting slip United fans will be happy with him again once he scores for us, means no such decision has been made. It quite frankly is embarrassing that the president of the World’s football organisation feels the need to stick his oar in, on the basis of what he’s seen printed in Marca.
2. Slavery? Hold on, only a few months ago Blatter was demanding that these fine specimens should be exempt from European law, based on the differences between them and the ordinary working man. They’re not ‘workers’ he said. Now, he says they are slaves. I’m no expert on the Slave Trade, but I imagine the African men who were taken away from their families and shoved on a boat to America, weren’t being paid £120,000 a week, having orgies with overpriced whores with their mates, and getting to kick a football about a pitch 7 days a week.
3. It makes you wonder, what is the point of having a player sign a contract if within a year’s time they are free to go and play for someone else. If this is the way things are heading, soon we’ll see players spending 6 months at one club, 6 months at another, moving regularly to whoever offers them the most money. The fact that the head of FIFA condones frequent player movement is extremely worrying.
United have of course not responded to these comments kindly, fighting back against Blatter’s insanity.
“All our players, like at other clubs, enter into their contracts after an open and free negotiation,” said a United representative. “Most of whom do after taking advice from a FIFA-registered agent. Many do so on a number of occasions and enjoy long and successful stays at Old Trafford.”
Thankfully, more often than not, United manage to instil a sense of loyalty and deisre to stay in to our players. The only player who stands out as someone I can remember desperately seeking a move away from the club, when maybe otherwise we’d have liked them to stay, is Gabriel Heinze. The players we want to keep tend to want to stay put. However, if Real Madrid can lean on their government to offer a player wages that double, triple, or quadruple what he is currently earning, how will clubs be able to fight them off?
These are desperate times indeed, and it now appears we’re not just fighting Real Madrid to keep Ronaldo, but UEFA and FIFA too. If we football was heading in a bad direction already, who knows where we’ll end up with clowns like Platini and Blatter in charge.