At the end of May, before his appointment as Chelsea manager had been announced, Luiz Filipe Scolari, speaking as Ronaldo’s international coach, claimed he thought Real Madrid were the right club for Ronnie.
“I have told him that in football you cannot live on memories,” Scolari said. “You have to take the opportunities when they come along because they will not come again in your lifetime. Cristiano knows that Madrid are a club to which you can never say no. History shows that you can lose the opportunity, and for that reason he is not going to say no to them. There are very few people who can say they have the capacity to make their lifelong dreams reality, but Cristiano is in this group of chosen people. Cristiano has always told me that his objectives in England were to win the Premier League and the Champions League. Now that he has done that, he has nothing left to prove. He knows he needs a new challenge.”
Since those comments from Scolari, we have been bombarded with mixed messages over Ronaldo’s future. Today, Scolari has stuck his nose in again, but Ronaldo shouldn’t be naive enough not to spot the hidden agenda behind Scolari wanting our player moving to a different league!
It is not Ronaldo’s decision on his future that is giving United fans a headache at the moment, rather his unwillingness just to come out and say what it is he wants. Since adamantly stating he was going to stay after the European Cup final, we’ve followed several weeks of hidden and vague messages from the player. He won’t categorically say he wants to join Real Madrid, but equally, won’t confirm he wants to stay at United either.
“Beckham is one of the club’s greatest-ever players and it was a huge honour to be handed the shirt,” Ronaldo said. “I just hope to carry on doing it justice for the manager and the fans. To be talked about like Becks and George Best would be amazing. But then why not if I carry on what I am doing?”
“Still I do not know where I will play,” he said. “I have not yet decided. It will be decided after the European Championships.”
“I like a white kit,” he said. “The white kit of the national team that is.”
Guillem: If you wanted to stay at Manchester United, why don’t you say it?
Ronaldo: You will soon know what I want. You do know what I want and that is why I don’t want to say anything else. Lets wait. I want to give more details that is why I cannot say much more.
Guillem: Do you feel what you are about to decide is a step forward in your career, a dream?
Ronaldo: It is a dream, a step forward, you can call it what you want. For me it is a great opportunity, and as Scolari says, that train passes by only once, and we have to take advantage of it.
Guillem: You know that when you return to Manchester people will be upset with you.
Ronaldo: But that will pass, a couple of good goals and people will be happy.
Ronaldo is playing games and it’s entirely frustrating. However, what is really starting to piss me off is Scolari’s involvement in the situation. The Portugal Football Federation have announced this week that they were livid with the timing of the news that Scolari was moving on, claiming that they couldn’t compete with the money Chelsea offered for his managerial services. Yet this is a man whose opinion Ronaldo really seems to value.
“I know Cristiano well and I know the type of person he is so I have no doubts about how he will handle himself in the next few weeks,” said Scolari today. “People must understand that Cristiano becomes stronger with all the difficulties and the stories about him. I have never known anyone so mentally strong. What happened to him at the World Cup in 2006 in the quarter-final against England would have crushed many other players – but not Cristiano.”
Hold on a minute, Ronaldo’s ability to get through the vile abuse is something which is now just attributed to his strength of character? Scolari is seemingly forgetting something, and hoping Ronaldo does the same. The support Ronaldo received from United fans was incredible. To counter balance the boos from the opposition every time his name was read out on the team sheet, we cheered for him the loudest. We sang his name week in week out. We turned up at matches home and away with Portugal flags and shirts.
Does Ronaldo honestly believe he would receive the same support from Real Madrid fans? Imagine in the World Cup 2006 and Portugal were playing against Spain. If he’d been a Real Madrid player then and was involved in the same incident with Raul instead of Rooney he would have been booed out of the club by his own fans on his return. There wouldn’t have been a place for him in Spain anymore. Yet all of our players, Rooney included, our manager and our fans, did all they could to separate the events at the World Cup from him as a United player.
“What has been happening around him here with the uncertainty about his future has not affected him – I know that because I have been with him,” Scolari continued. “He is so strong mentally and he is in control of his own destiny – and because of that Manchester United can do nothing to hurt him. It is his dream to play for Real Madrid and I am sure Cristiano will fulfil his dream whatever the difficulties.”
Whilst United will start next season as favourites to win the title again, with or without Ronaldo, it certainly won’t do Chelsea’s title bid any harm if Ronaldo isn’t at the club anymore. Since Ronaldo joined up with Portugal ahead of Euro 2008, Scolari had to know that the chances were strong of him managing Ronaldo’s title rivals in the coming season. Every bit of advice he has given to Ronaldo in this time about his future has come with his own agenda. He wants to weaken the opposition. How can Ronaldo be stupid enough to take on board anything Scolari has to say? Why hasn’t he dismissed all of Scolari’s comments the moment it was announced that he was set to be the Chelsea manager?
I already made my feelings on Scolari well known when his appointment was revealed, but my dislike of him is growing with every comment he makes about our player.
So Scolari picks up when Mourinho left off, hated by United fans. In a years time, I hope to be reflecting on how Scolari’s first season in charge ended like Mourinho’s reign with the rent boys, 2nd best to United.
To mark the anniversary of United winning the Treble with a team that had academy products at the core, Made in Manchester is available for just £3 for today only. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Beset to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total.