Commentary

Forget Neymar, Man United Should Bring Back Ronaldo

If you’ve been following European transfer news, then you might be familiar with Manchester United’s recent interest in Barcelona forward Neymar. According to a report that originated in UK tabloid The Sun, United is prepared to pay a world-record 240 million-pounds ($376.6 million) for the Brazilian, who the report claims could be interested in the move so he no longer has to play second-fiddle to Lionel Messi. Or something.

Of course, Barca moved swiftly to reject the speculation on Tuesday by saying that not only is the 23-year-old unavailable (his contract has three seasons still to run), but the club would soon give him further incentive to stay by offering him a new contract.

Oh, well.

If early-season results are anything to go by, United definitely needs another top quality striker to offer competition to captain Wayne Rooney, who has looked far from his best in United’s first three Premier League games so far. According to Sky Sports and other British news outlets, the Red Devils certainly have the money, but the problem is the availability of such a commodity.

Well, Off The Post has said it before, and he will say it again: United should make a serious move for former player Cristiano Ronaldo before the end of the transfer window.

Sure, he may not be a traditional center-forward, and he may also be over 30, but if any big club in the world right now needs a player whose game requires that a team revolve its attacking strategy around him, it’s Man United.

Why? For starters, Louis van Gaal’s team has looked pretty good at the back in its first three EPL games, but it has offered very little going forward. While many pundits point out that creativity seems to be lacking, OTP would argue that it’s a little urgency and incisiveness in the box that’s needed and Ronaldo certainly offers that.

He also offers an enormous ego, which is something United’s front-line, especially, needs. Though new-boy Memphis Depay looks a good buy for the future, he is by no means the finished article and could use a player with a big game and a big personality to look up to and learn from. Rooney looks as though he needs a boost, and the opportunity to rekindle his former partnership with Ronaldo might be just what the captain needs. Playmaker Juan Mata might also become that much more decisive with a speedster like Ronaldo always willing to power down the wing or dart into the box.

But most of all -- it’s just a hunch -- but OTP thinks like-minded egos van Gaal and Ronaldo would get along a lot better than the Portuguese is faring right now with the more team-oriented Rafael Benitez at Real. 

Indeed, Ronaldo cuts an increasingly frustrated and unhappy figure over in Madrid. During Real’s first game of the La Liga season, a disappointing 0-0 draw at home to newcomer Sporting Gijon, he looked and felt isolated on the wing, despite playing 90 minutes.

To be sure, you can imagine that the Portuguese, who still holds the current FIFA Ballon d’Or, was annoyed when new coach Benitez, in one of his first press conferences, lumped him in the same category with lesser-lights like Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez. Whereas former coach Carlo Ancelotti revolved his offense around the 30-year-old, Benitez and Real made it clear this summer that Bale would be given the free role this season that Ronaldo used to thrive on. 

He may be over 30, but Ronaldo is obviously still in incredible shape. He led Spain and Europe in scoring last season and his hunger for goals looks as though it will never die. Moreover, he often speaks with great affection of his former club, particularly former boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who remains involved at Old Trafford, and you can imagine that the Portuguese would love nothing more than the opportunity of a glorious comeback.

And really, what’s left for him at Real? He’s already won every major trophy with the Spanish capital club, every major individual trophy, too, in addition to having broken just about every goal-scoring record the club has—except, of course, Raul Gonzalez’s all-time record. Should he decide that’s one record he doesn’t need to break, then United would be the best possible destination for him.  

Real and Benitez have obviously signaled that the future of the club lies with youngsters like Bale, James and Isco, so it might now behoove both parties to part ways. With just two seasons remaining on Ronaldo’s current Real contract, the time to sell is now.

Meanwhile, United needs goals, it obviously has the money to spend, and there aren’t many world-class strikers on the market right now. Besides, what could possibly go wrong? 

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