In light of the recent five-year deal between Ronaldo and Real Madrid for £15 million per year, many Manchester United fans have resigned themselves to the star being a part of the club’s past rather than its future. Comments from Louis Van Gaal prior to the Leicester City match, however, have left a small hope alive for the Old Trafford faithful. It is a small hope, but Van Gaal did not rule out the possibility of an arrangement being struck. He commented on the fact that the question has been bandied about considerably in the media, but joked that it would not be the media who had to make the expensive purchase.
Further fuel has been added to the wildfire rumors of Ronaldo making a return to the Red Devils by comments he made about Florentino Perez, the President of Real Madrid, criticizing the transfer policies of the club. A lot of speculation has been made about the possibility of his returning to United. Comments made by Spanish futbol pundit Guillem Balague, which indicated that arrangements has already been put into motion for Ronaldo to return to England have stirred up renewed belief that the move might actually be made. Balague’s comments indicated that in addition to his issues with the transfer policy, the Balon D’Or recipient felt like his position at Real Madrid felt more like a job when compared to the enjoyment he had while playing at Old Trafford.
With a stuttering start to Van Gaal’s tenure at Manchester United this campaign, it is a reasonable leap to make to think that a deal with Ronaldo is just the type of thing needed to show the fans that the club is serious about future success. After the disappointing result of last year, there is little doubt that pressure is high to show the Old Trafford faithful that the club is serious about returning to the exalted status of previous years. Van Gaal may joke about the expense of signing a marquee player like Ronaldo, but the pockets are deep when it comes to making sure that this year is not a repeat of the breakdown which occurred in the last campaign. There are few opportunities from a public relations point of view as uniquely suited to the club’s goals as the return of a hero from former years to help orchestrate the return of United to the top of the standings.
Because of the rumors that Sir Alex Ferguson was ready to bring Ronaldo back last year, and the feeling that it would have happened if Ferguson had retained his position, there is a good bit of pressure on Van Gaal to fulfill that expectation, however unrealistic it appears in light of the Real Madrid deal. Although Van Gaal is not known as someone who even remotely succumbs to external pressure of that type, the possibility of having that piece to add to the squad he has built is nothing if not tempting on its own. While all rational evaluation of the current situation lead to the conclusion that any deal to return Ronaldo to Manchester United is something for the distant future, many fans still believe that the rumors and reports surfacing may indeed be more than just idle talk.
Commentary By Jim Malone