29 Jun 2009
6 seasons. 292 appearances. 118 goals. 49 assists. Now he’s gone, and United are richer by 80 million pounds. Thats Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United career at Old Trafford. He came in as a “phenomenal talent” and left as a “superstar”, probably the biggest of ‘em all. A stepover here, a nudge there. A dive here and a fantastic strike there. This was pretty much what he was about.
When he was bought for 12 million pounds six years ago, quite a few eyebrows werre raised as he was quite an unknown identity. No sooner than he had made his sparkling debut, than people realised that the unknown ‘X’ was quite simply the ‘X-Factor’. His first couple of seasons, or the first three even, were quite inconsistent peppered with flashes of brilliance. He was still growing.
Then came the first of three brilliant seasons in which he so famously won the wager with Sir Alex when he scored more than 20 that season. The season started off on a sour note with the Rooney red card incident at the world cup. He was getting stick wherever he played( Well, except OT of course !!). But then he won over the fans with a series of stunning displays. He was developing his game and with it learning to deal with superstardom too. He was still growing.
Then came the season to end all seasons. 42 goals in 49 appearances to go with a Premiership medal and a champs league medal. He simply decimated all and was crowned both the European and World Footballer of the year. He was quite simply on another planet and well, vini vidi vici. Inevitably Real Madrid came calling and quite frankly, United were lucky to hold on to him for another season. But the signs were ominous and it was only a question of when rather than if he would leave. He had grown.
Then was his last season at OT. His supposed “not so good” season. Yeah, it produced only 26 goals. Not so good indeed. Well, the season started off badly as he had a surgeory on his ankle and was out of the game for the start of the season and when he got back, he did look more than a little jaded. Worst of all, he looked as if his heart was quite simply not in it. His attitude did improve as the season progressed and so did his form. Another premier league medal and a Champs league runners up medal. Towards the end of the season, the signs were ominous. The pure petulence on being substituted was well, inexcusible. But then the second half against Tottenham showed us the boy’s class and well, it was one last swansong.
Then came the inevitable. Manchester United had accepted a world record 80 million dollar bid from Real Madrid for the the services of a certain Cristaino Ronaldo, and just like that, he was off. The worst part of it was the reaction of all the United fans all over the world. A “we dont need him” attitude. I’m sorry guys, have a li’l respect for the guy and for all that he gave us.
He was brilliant. He was infuriating. He was arrogant. He was pure genius. He was quite simply the guy you would just love to hate. He may well be a whigner. He may well be a spoilt rich brat. He may not have defended or worked hard enough for the team. He may have thrown tantrums and dived on the slightest contact but you know what?? All we can do is look back and say…”That boy!Ronaldo !!”
Adios amigo. Its been a good six years. Thank you for the memories and… Godspeed