the yellow bar started scrolling across the bottom of the TV screen yesterday,
Early Doors has been torn.
Half of it
thinks Manchester United are mad to sell Cristiano Ronaldo, while the rest of it thinks they have done a brilliant piece of business.
resolve its internal conflicts, ED's
brain has split into two separate entities, a bit like the 118 blokes.
analytical left side of the brain
thinks that it is rarely a good idea for a football team to sell their best
player, while the creative right side thinks Ronaldo is an idiot.
ED put the
two hemispheres in a room, locked the door and recorded their conversation.
- - -
Right brain: Well, what about this
Ronaldo thing then?
It's all happened so quickly. We've only had 23 hours to digest the news.
the beauty of the blog format, though, isn't
it? Instant analysis. Almost as soon as something happens you're reading some clot's
views about it. ED must be one of the first to talk about this Ronaldo deal.
LB: Um... almost.
Still, you must have had enough time to think up some hilarious quips?
RB: Not really. Hence this
conversational style, a blatant rip-off of popular newspaper column Pass Notes.
Anyway, let's get down to business. £80
million for a sulky, self-obsessed poser who didn't
want to be at the club. Surely that's
deal of the century for United?
LB: Are you
kidding? Need I remind you he's the
reigning Ballon d'Or and World
Player of the Year, and two seasons ago scored 42 goals without even playing up
front? This season just gone everyone agreed he was rubbish because he only
weighed in with 26 goals. He's also
one of the quickest, strongest and er, skilfulest players in the world.
RB: Enough with the numbers. Alex Ferguson's replaced great players in the past without any
problem, hasn't he? Just look at
David Beckham, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Roy Keane. They all left and United were
took over from Beckham on the right wing? Ronaldo. Who picked up the
goalscoring slack when Van Nistelrooy left? Ronaldo. He even replaced Keane as
United's most obvious hate figure. The
man can do it all. Except replace himself.
RB: You seem to be forgetting United
will have £80m in the bank to sign new players. Ribery, Benzema, Valencia
- they could conceivably buy all three for that money. Or Newcastle United.
know what they can't get?
as good as Ronaldo. Money's all very
well, but there is not a player in the world who will be as effective as him
for United. They might get a bit of squad depth but their first team will
definitely be worse.
not all about individual ability, though, is it? You can imagine a few members
of the United dressing-room might not be sad to see him go. Seriously, what
must he and Nemanja Vidic talk about? Sunbeds? Earrings? Paris Hilton?
RB: Paris Hilton. It's
all over the papers. Ronaldo celebrated his move by hitting a Hollywood
nightclub with the Hilton sisters.
him a break. Just because he's famous
he should be able to enjoy an evening out without people bothering him. It's not like either of them are the type to draw
attention to themselves. I bet he was just having a quiet drink. Water
RB: Not everyone's as straight-laced as you, lefty. If it was water,
it was fizzy and came out of Cristal champagne bottles, and he consumed it
while wearing a gold shirt and, according to The Sun's
eyewitness, "sucking the face off" Paris Hilton (pictured-ish).
RB: Quite. It gets worse. "At
one point Ronaldo had a bottle between his legs and Paris was stroking it. It was very
LB: Look, I
don't care if he's a fool. He's
a great player and this deal is historic.
RB: Who told you that, Cristiano
exactly what Ronaldo said, with characteristic humility, I might add:
"This deal is historic."
he's right. You can't criticise a man for telling the truth. Unless he's leaving an answer phone message for Andrew Sachs.
RB: Was he telling the truth when he
kept saying he wanted to stay at United all of last season? Former Real
president Ramon Calderon said the deal was done six months ago.
Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon, recently deposed in humiliating
circumstances? What possible reason would he have to try and take credit for
signing Cristiano Ronaldo? Thanks all the same, but I'm
going to give credit to Florentino Perez, who has also signed Luis Figo,
Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, David Beckham and Kaka. Not the bloke to whom Sir
Alex Ferguson said he would not sell a virus. What would that make Ronaldo,
not far off, judging by the reaction of most United fans. Former United man
Paul Parker judged the general mood pretty well when he said: "£80m represents
good business for United, who will be glad to get shot of a player who was
increasingly becoming problematic."
LB: You're using Paul Parker as a barometer for the mood of
all United fans? He hates all fancy dans. You should hear him go on about
Didier Drogba. This is why you should steer clear of trying to use facts, you
RB: OK, well what about the lukewarm
response of the Old Trafford crowd? They spent all season chanting for Carlos
Tevez and Wayne Rooney, but hardly gave Ronaldo the time of day. Too much
whingeing, preening and smashing up motorway tunnels with his Ferrari.
course Ronaldo is a difficult character, but he's
paid to play football, not be everybody's chum. He's
an enigma. Like Eric Cantona.
RB: I can't
believe you've even made that
comparison. Cantona might have been prone to the odd kung-fu assault or
supremely arrogant goal celebration, but the fans loved all that. He
respected United and there was always a bond between him and the supporters.
you don't have to get all worthy. So
you're basically saying that in 10
years time we won't be going down
the local multiplex to watch 'Looking
RB: Precisely. Well, not unless it's a documentary about Ronaldo going missing in the
Champions League final.
couldn't let it lie, could you?
- - -
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "He's one of the
most brilliant players in the world. I think people will be sad that he's lost to the game in England. I know Sir Alex well and
he will be rebuilding the team. He will make them emerge in a new way, and
probably make them even stronger in the long run." Well, when something is
this important, you have to get a soundbite from the Prime Minister, haven't you?
VIEW: You know when earth-shattering events happen, and newspapers do a
double-sized landscape front page to capture the enormity of it all? Well,
today's Marca has gone all
broadsheet to commemorate 'the
signing of the century' There is
also a self-congratulatory montage of all the paper's
previous front pages pre-emptively (and incorrectly) 'announcing' the transfer.
Ronaldo, the aftermath: day two. More news, views and analysis, including the
considered opinion of Jim White, which you won't
want to miss. And while enormous events like the Ronaldo deal really put things
like cricket and tennis
into perspective, we'll be covering
them as part of our commitment to minority sports.