Now that Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his £80m move to
Real Madrid, we'll see exactly what the Portuguese forward is made of.
The size of the fee, making him the most expensive player in
the world, immediately ramps up the pressure on his shoulders.
For that kind of money - and for the wages he will be
getting - failure will not be accepted and he will be expected to perform from
day one at the Bernabeu.
That's an entirely different situation to the one he found himself
in when he arrived at Manchester United.
Back then, in 2003, he was a relatively unknown youngster who
merely showed promise. Nothing was expected of him straight away.
He took a few years to adjust before growing into one of the
best players in the world, but question marks remain over his ability to perform
under intense pressure.
Having scored 42 goals a couple of seasons ago, the hype surrounding
him was incredible at the beginning of the last campaign, especially after he had spent the summer being linked with Real.
But on the whole, I don't think he handled it too well. He
was too reactive to pressure-cooker situations. He did not play with a smile on his face and he always seemed angry, whether with the opposition, the referee or his own team-mates.
Yes, another season performing at such a high level was
virtually impossible. Yes, he managed to score another 26 goals. And yes, he added
a few more medals to his collection.
But his performances and his attitude, especially in some of the bigger
games, did not suggest he was comfortable playing under such pressure.
Ronaldo certainly needs to add consistency to his game in those
big matches. The problem is that next season every game will be a big one for
Having conceded the title to Barcelona, Real fans will be desperate for
their team to avoid any further embarrassment.
With Ronaldo and Kaka in their ranks - and Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery expected to follow - they will be looking to surpass
Barca, not just equal them.
And having been the undisputed top dog at United, Ronaldo must once again prove himself the main man ahead of some very illustrious colleagues.
Of course that breeds yet more pressure and yet more scrutiny,
both of which Ronaldo will have to learn to deal with. If not, he'll find out how quicky the Real fans can turn on their own players.