Ian Wright, who accurately described himself as a “jester” recently, has put me in quite a predicament with comments he made this week. The “loveable” cockney geezer first entered our lives back in 1990, coming on against us in the FA Cup final and turning the game around, forcing it in to a replay.
Since then, he joined our title rivals Arsenal and was their highest ever scorer until VaVaVoom tipped him at the top of the goalscoring table.
As a football player I’ve never like him, whilst acknolwedging his fine ability. But as a pundit, I’ve never rated him. His outrageous claims in support of Steven Gerrard diving just about finished off any chance I had for respecting the man.
With his overexcitable personality, studs first challenges, and crap footballer midget son, Ian Wright is one of those Marmite type people. You either love him or hate him. I hate him.
Which is why it pains me to agree entirely with what he has to say about Cristiano Ronaldo.
Wright spoke at length about our winger, calling him an embarrassment, claiming he was letting down the fans and manager, and that he is wrong to be in such a rush to leave.
As a player, there’s no doubt what you’re capable of. 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.
You’ve been at Old Trafford for five years but it’s only the last two seasons you’ve set the place on fire. Previous to that, Fergie stuck with you. Despite your diving and despite the fact you would always try to take on a defender rather than pass to a team-mate. When you acted a right winker at the World Cup two years ago, your club manager once again showed extreme loyalty to you, along with United’s fans. They could have turned on you after your behaviour during the England match in Germany but they didn’t.
You’ve now become one hell of a player – the best on this planet. I’d pay just to see you warm-up, let alone play a game. But with the drop of a hat, it seems you’re ready to join Real Madrid. What’s the rush? You’re still so young, for heaven’s sake. Surely you should give United another two years’ service before thinking about heading off to the Bernabeu. 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? I’m sure you’ve got advisors whispering in your ear but surely you have realised they could only be in it for the money, rather than your personal welfare. While Real may be tempting you with £300,000 a week after tax, how much money do you actually want? If you stay in Manchester, you could be banking £7.5million a year. It shouldn’t be about money at all, in any case. At the end of the season, I’d have loved it if you had said ‘I’m not interested in joining Real — I’m happy at United.’ But you didn’t. You gave a smile and said you’d let us know ‘in two or three weeks.’ You may have thought you were being funny but no one was laughing.
Even if you do surprise us and decide to stay at United, I’m not convinced your heart will be in the job. Not after your recent behaviour. In 12 months’ time, we’ll end up with another similar will-he-leave-or-will-he-stay pantomime. Arsenal had this with Patrick Vieira and it didn’t do anyone any good. Having a player in this situation is a bit like having a girlfriend who is unhappy. There comes a time when you just have to split.
Of course, I know you’re not the only one to blame in this. It seems Real have again shown they have a disregard for other clubs and the rules of football. But they’ll continue to act like this, as long as they’re allowed to get away with it. It’s a sorry reminder that football can be a real cesspit. I’d love it if you could show some guts and prove us wrong by staying with United. Sadly, I don’t think you will.
Scarily, Ian Wright gets it just about spot on. Of course, the incidents of the World Cup were no bother to most United fans, but if we look at what a player we have turned him in to, it’s scandalous for him to piss about with us over his future.
For the benefit of his career, staying at United would be far more suitable. Real Madrid is a club you join when you’ve done your developing, when you’re ready to earn the big bucks and lap up the praise over the great player you have become. But does Ronaldo honestly believe he’ll get to continue improving at the rate he has with us at Real Madrid? Does he reckon he will get the same service on the field there? Surely his ego is big enough to believe the fans will love him as much as we once did, but he will be left disappointed. Like Beckham and Ruud before him, it will be Ronaldo who can’t stop talking about United after he leaves, when he realises that the way after Manchester United, more often than not, is down. Then he will wish he had taken a bit more time to listen to the words of experience from Beckham.
Now, there is no element of surprise in this trafer saga, (one of the many we’ve been involved in recently, from Mikel and Heinze, then Tevez to Hargreaves) as we’ve always known Ronaldo wasn’t a red for life. We can look at players like Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Nemanja Vidic, and see them spending a good chunk of their career, if not all their football years, at the least the peak ones, playing for our club. We knew this was never going to be the case with Ronaldo, but I just don’t think any of us anticipated the move to happen so soon.
He is the best player in the World and he got to that point because of us. He owes us more than one year of playing whilst holding this status.
However, now, for a lot of United fans, his future with our club is unattainable, best player in the World or not.