March 5, 2013
The reasons why Manchester United fans should all want to see Cristiano Ronaldo back at Old Trafford are all self-explanatory – but for the neutrals, and for the rival fans who wouldn’t be so enthused at seeing the Portuguese lining-up against their sides again, here are some reasons why we should all hope he comes back to the Premier League.
– English football needs a transfer like this. When Ronaldo originally left Manchester United, it was almost a statement of the growing allure of La Liga. The player himself, despite his personal reasons for moving to the Bernabeu, is symbolic of a recent trend within the game: the best players in the world all seem to crave transfer to Barcelona or Real Madrid. The argument over which league is technically superior, or which offers better entertainment will rage for the rest of time without resolution, but as long as players like Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Andres Iniesta and Xavi are plying their trade in Southern Europe, English football by default will have secondary status.
– During the Premier League era, the two most dominant players have arguably been Ronaldo and Thierry Henry. Certainly, they were the only two players who I’ve watched since 1992 who have been able to consistently influence the outcome of games by themselves. Every time one of them touched the ball, a goal or match-changing moment could be imminent. Yes, other players have scored goals and been brilliant in their own way, but nobody else reached the same level as those two, nobody else transcended the game in quite the same way. Seeing something like that, on a weekly basis, is special and rare and we should all embrace the opportunity to have it on our doorstep once again.
– It would force other teams to react. If Ronaldo joined Manchester United in the Summer, you can be certain that their rival clubs would feel obliged to become more aggressive in the transfer market. Had that happened last Summer, does anybody really think that Manchester City would have settled on just signing Jack Rodwell and Scott Sinclair? No, of course not – big signings demand a retaliation, and if Ronaldo moves, you can bet that City – and Chelsea – would start trading blows through the market. Whilst not everybody would be thrilled at watching those financial muscles flex again, it would undeniably lead to an influx of talent in the league and that – from a product value standpoint – would be a positive.
– He’s box office. There are players in the world who are talented, and then there are players in the world who you dare not look away from for fear of missing something. Ronaldo is one of only two or three players in the game today who fits into that latter category. When he plays, you watch – and whether you love him or hate him, he’s a reason to go to or turn on the football. Whether you view him as a football deity, or as a flouncing, posturing pantomime villain, he plays both roles brilliantly, and he incites a reaction one way or another. If you’re not a Manchester United fan, then he’ll likely have broken your heart at one point or another, but you didn’t look away while he was doing it. The Premier League is built on the concept of larger than life personalities and superhero-like players, and that’s what he is – he enhances the drama and, subsequently, our enjoyment of the league – how could you not want him back?