3 reasons Cristiano Ronaldo will not be returning to Manchester United

The footballing universe was left hanging in suspense after Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo took to Twitter to announce all rumours of ancristiano agreement over a new contract with Los Blancos false. It also took just several tense minutes after the dramatic announcement before fans and pundits alike immediately began debating intensely over what the unpredictable Madrid striker’s next move would be. With outrageous speculation and fabricated gossip dominating much of social networking sites and sports columns, the never-ending buzz surrounding one of the best players’ on the planet refused to calm, with one familiar and famous fanbase in particular being sent into a wild frenzy: the Manchester United supporters.

Although interesting odds ranged from the absolute absurd in claims Ronaldo was mulling over a transfer to Monaco, to many believing a shock move to another Premier League club could be on the cards – the one team which has always looked most likely to land the signature of the skilled Portuguese footballer has been Manchester United. After a dream move from Sporting Lisbon in 2003, Ronaldo’s fairytale story with the Red Devils had cruelly culminated with a stunning transfer to Real Madrid which shook the world only 3 years ago. Ever since the move materialised though, United fans refused to believe they had seen the last of Ronaldo in a red shirt – the same burning hope that has been fuelled by the circulation of ceaseless rumours associated with the talented and confident star in recent months.

However, even though United fans may well be immune to the heartbreaking reality for now, one has to wonder just how close they are to what would be the biggest transfer of all time, as although many believe a move to Manchester may be imminent – here are several reasons why it is important to stay grounded and remind ourselves the situation in Madrid may not be quite so rosy and seasoned for a transfer of one of the biggest superstars in not just football alone, but the whole world.

3. On a footballing standpoint, are Manchester United better than Real Madrid? 

When players trade clubs, it usually comes down to two small things: their wages and potential of winning trophies, something which is a necessity if players look to be recognised as the one of the best. In February, the whole world was on the edge of their seats as a long-awaited, momentous collision between two footballing juggernauts in Manchester United and Real Madrid finally happened, with Real Madrid winning the

Ronaldo in action against his former club

Ronaldo in action against his former club

tie 3-2 over 2 exciting legs and progressing to the quarter-finals of the legendary Champions League tournament. Even though it reminded Ronaldo of the glory he had once happily experienced at Old Trafford in an United shirt, it reminded the everyone of English football’s deterioration in the big leagues and ultimately showed teams like Man Utd still had a long way to go if they were to successfully clinch the Champions League trophy once again.

Consequently, even though United’s chances may have been considerably lessened by a controversial decision from the referee of the 2nd tie in Manchester, it was safe to assume the better team had deservedly advanced through to the next round. A lot of people believe Ronaldo is one of the few left who plays football because of the unmatched love, passion and grace he has maintained since he was a small child developing his natural talent and prowess in the streets of the small town of Santo Antonio, Funchal. Seeing as Real Madrid are definitely part of the top 5 in both popularity and technicality, and in a much higher position than Man Utd in both aspects – one has to ponder exactly why Ronaldo would leave the prominent club to join one which is arguably a fraction of the side they used to be in the past, especially in terms of their decline in individual starpower and quality of play.

2. Moyes has been promised funds, but just how much is he allowed to spend? 

Aside from the impervious task of persuading Ronaldo to come to Old Trafford, another big factor which would almost certainly delay smooth proceedings is the transfer fee. With just a surprising £52.9million being the highest amount of cash United have splashed on players in a season

Ronaldo embraces his old manager

Ronaldo embraces his old manager

during the past 5 years (in comparison to their rich rivals Manchester City and Chelsea) it is fairly obvious this amount alone wouldn’t even cover three-quarters of the ridiculous fee Real Madrid would certainly demand for their unsettled, Portuguese gem. In fact, it is safe to say a price ranging from £60million-£70million would be an ambitious estimate to say the least, as it’s likely Real Madrid wouldn’t want to increase losses (which would already be extremely painful for both the club and their fans) even further by struggling to reclaim the £80million they’d forked out for the greatest although debatable, player in the world.

Last year, Manchester United spent £48million, with half of this hearty bundle contributing to the mega-transfer which allowed Robin Van Persie to move to Manchester from old-enemies Arsenal. With United also being linked to other world-class, international stars in Barcelona playmaker Cesc Fabregas and Dortmund hitman Robert Lewandowski, it is hard to imagine whether manager David Moyes would have the backing from the board to invest in such an extraordinary trio of attacking players, despite how low-risk it may seem. With outside bets also being placed on close links to in-form midfielder Gareth Bale and Dutch starlet Kevin Strootman, Moyes would have to play a dangerous game of elimination, and prioritise Ronaldo to other, equally-gifted players, even if it does leave United short of the quality they have needed in several areas for the past few years now.

Additionally, even though Ronaldo would be the player fans are clamoring profoundly for, there would be a lot of pressure on Moyes to make the right decision – and one which could cost them a Premier League title, a same mistake their Manchester counterparts made in the pre-season negotiations last year; the same mistake which would eventually lead to their faint and diminishing hopes of regaining their title as the season continued.

1. What reason would Ronaldo have for leaving?

Aside from the obvious fact Ronaldo has had previous history with the club, the only other reason anyone believed Ronaldo had for a return to Old Trafford one day was his renowned relationship with former manager Sir Alex Ferguson. In the past, the Portuguese sensation spoke of his treasured and strong bond with Sir Alex, even stating he saw him as a father-figure due to the way he nurtured the star’s rise as a youngster, both on and off the pitch. However, with Ferguson unfortunately announcing his inevitable retirement at the end of last season, a lot of pundits began to question just what Ronaldo really has left in Manchester.

Furthermore, everyone in football is aware of the clear attraction and love between young, foreign starlets and Real Madrid, and you only have to look at examples of players such as Kaka and Gonzalo Higuain who may not be satisfied with the amount of game-time they’ve had during their time at the Bernabeu, but equally cannot bring themselves to leave such a historic and prestigious club. Put simply, you cannot play for a club any bigger than Real Madrid – the amazing experience of playing for Real Madrid is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and only the absolute best such as Roberto Carlos and Zinedine Zidane have graced the 85,000 Los Merengues spectators week in, week out on a regular basis.

Therefore, one has to really wonder why Ronaldo would want to leave the remarkable club to rejoin an old club which pretty much already regards him as one of its legends – instead of cementing his legacy at the Santiago Bernabeu and continuing his epic rivalry with Lionel Messi in order to solidify their attempts of silencing the other as truly, the world’s greatest.


5 things we learnt from the Champions League Final

Last night saw Bayern Munich deservedly cement their places among the legends of football with their 2-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund whichbayern foto 1 was sealed by none other than Arjen Robben with a spectacular finish in the dying embers of the game, caressing the ball under the spell of his masked trickery and sublime skill before guiding it calmly past Roman Weidenfeller into the open net. A crucial goal which stopped the critics labelling the current Bayern team as ‘chokers’ – a side which suffered under the curse that pressure and expectation cruelly bring every time they reached a final. (They had reached the Champions League final twice in the past 3 years, losing both matches and finishing runners up to Inter Milan and Chelsea respectively)

The colossal final between two German juggernauts of football, held at the world-famous Wembley Stadium in London, was a tense and back-and-forth affair, with Weidenfeller and Manuel Neuer both showing why they are two of the world’s best goalkeepers after pulling off some unbelievable saves to keep their sides in it. Nonetheless, Bayern built on the sudden change of momentum in their favour that the half-hour mark saw, with a strong start once the second half kicked off as the inevitable goal that everybody knew would happen finally came in the form of a Franck Ribery through ball which split the Dortmund defence in half as Robben’s low cross was cooly slid away into an open net by Croatian hitman Mario Mandzukic.

However, a pure moment of madness ensued just 6 minutes later after Dante lunged at Marco Reus inside the box, completely missing the aloft ball and planting his studs unforgivingly into Reus’s midsection. Dortmund midfielder Ilkay Gundogan stepped up and confidently sent Neuer the wrong way, reinstating Jurgen Klopp’s side back into the tie. At this point, the match had reached a stalemate as Dortmund began to wilt under the physicality of Die Bavarians, as their durable pressure and momentum finally came to a head when Ribery’s through ball to Robben deflected off Lukasz Piszczek’s right leg and fell to Robben’s feet, as he ran past Mats Hummels and tucked it away past Weidenfeller into the bottom left hand side of the goal just 2 minutes before full time.

Robben’s goal finally restored Bayern Munich to the top of the heap as kings of Europe, as the best and most commendable team in the competition rightfully won it under their retiring manager, Jupp Heynckes – and ended the past 3 years of pain and heartache that still lingered throughout Bavaria. Nevertheless, with the biggest game in club football finally being laid to rest and being a fitting way to close out another brilliant season, here are 5 things we learnt from the 90 minutes of football Germany’s best had to offer.

5. Robben may be worth hanging onto

Arjen Robben’s late game heroics may have earned Bayern their 5th Champions League title, but it has been no secret Bayern were looking to offload him to another club amid reports they were growing less tolerant of his selfish nature and inconsistent performances. However, last night certainly proved Robben still has more to give, scoring perhaps the most important goal of his 13 in 30 appearances for Bayern this season. Furthermore, with Bayern going from strength to strength with the signing of Mario Gotze from rivals Dortmund, it may be a better solution for Bayern to keep Robben as a useful back-up winger (a role he has been resigned to since the beginning of this season) and sell the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri who has failed to make his mark with Die Roten. No matter how old or self-centred Robben may appear to be at times on the pitch, he is still a vital cog in the machinery that make up Bayern Munich, and he has proven he can still impact games when he is allowed to drift into unexplored positions and show what he is capable of with his audacious scoring efforts, charging, confident runs and blistering pace. Besides, Bayern would be losing a terrific player with the imminent sale of Arjen Robben to another fortunate club, and he would certainly leave a huge hole in the Bayern offence that they would need to address as soon as possible, and a hole they may even end up struggling to replace.

4. Borussia Dortmund are here to stay

Borussia Dortmund’s gutsy and valiant performance against a heavy-favourite Bayern Munich side proved to everyone they had finally completed

Ilkay Gundogan celebrates Dortmund's equaliser

Ilkay Gundogan celebrates Dortmund’s equaliser

their transition as one of Europe’s elite. Their impeccable start to the match was illustrated by some beautiful football between their attack, as Reus and Gundogan threaded passes together to Lewandowski on numerous occasions – although he was unable to find his shooting boots on the night. Despite many people having grown to respect the love and passion of the Die Borussen fans, many have claimed Dortmund are nothing more than a team enjoying the brightest spell in their history with the best young stars in the world who have broken onto the footballing scene – Robert Lewandowski, Mats Hummels and Mario Gotze to name a few. They also wrongly predicted the final last night would be a walkthrough for Bayern, who may have been the technically superior side, but their victory certainly was not a straightforward one by any stretch of the imagination. Dortmund’s impressive performance against their Bundesliga rivals not only confirmed they were a side which deserved their spot in the final, but also that they will be still be amid Europe’s greatest teams for several years to come, even if some of their best players leave during the hectic transfer window this Summer.

3. Schmelzer is the weak link in the Dortmund team

Marcel Schmelzer’s performance yesterday was a very disappointing and lackluster one – on an evening where he was given the seemingly impossible task of keeping the interchanging duo of Arjen Robben and Thomas Muller quiet; he found his true weaknesses exposed and magnified by Bayern’s immaculate and intelligent positioning. Even though he did a good enough job when finding himself in a 1-on-1 situation with Robben or Muller, many could argue he should have done more to divert the course of the ball away from Mario Mandzukic and keep the deadlock firmly intact. Despite Dortmund keeper Weidenfeller getting a meaningless touch on Robben’s cross which allowed the ball to sneak past Schmelzer, the German fullback owed it to himself to reward his desperate efforts to track back with a crucial touch which would have kept the game in the balance, at least for a bit more time. Furthermore, the left-back found himself stranded out of position far too many times, allowing Robben and Muller to make surging and dangerous runs into the box with even more space out wide for Phillip Lahm to overlap and loft in a cross. On his day, Schmelzer can be one of the best full-backs in the Bundesliga, but the Dortmund defender was helpless in his efforts to silence the offence Robben and Muller provided, and Dortmund could look to shore up the left-hand side of their defence with the arrival of the transfer window looming on the near-horizon.

2. Guardiola is inheriting a perfect Bayern side

Pep Guardiola returns from his temporary retirement next season by taking over a complete Bayern Munich side already well-equipped to regain their titles next season. An individually exceptional team condensed with the likes of Bastian Schweinsteiger and Franck Ribery integrated with starlets like Mario Gotze yet to join, their counter-attacking style of play is also one of the most efficient and competent offences around, there really is a widespread ambiguity over what Guardiola really can do to improve this already-primed team. Their slow start against Dortmund highlighted just how resilient Die Bavarians really are, turning the tide of the game in their favour after 30 minutes of play and starting to unlock the Dortmund defence with beautiful and ingenious passes which resulted in several clear chances for Robben – which he threw away miserably. The only area Guardiola could perhaps examine is squad depth, with Bayern being short in real quality in areas such as left-back or central-defensive midfield. However, it is safe to assume from the treble Bayern have already accomplished this season with the unbelievable potential of a quadruple should they win against Stuttgart in the DFB-Pokal, Guardiola is taking over a side with virtually no weaknesses and if they can mount a successful transfer window by securing the signatures of some more world-class players, the sky really is the limit for Die Roten.

1. German football is on the rise

The biggest thing we learnt from last night’s 90 minutes of Champions League football was very clear and inescapable – German football is growing

Bayern celebrate their CL victory

Bayern celebrate their CL victory

increasingly stronger. Not just in the sense regarding club football with Bayern and Dortmund both evolving into some of the best teams on the planet, but also in a sense that Germany has come on leaps and bounds with its youth and talent on an international level, with the best on display yesterday involving the likes of Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Manuel Neuer. In fact, it may be hard to argue against a case describing Germany as early World Cup favourites, with the competition set to kick off in 2014 in Brazil. Moreover, no longer are English and Spanish teams on top of the heap, with Barcelona’s reign of domination set to come to a surprising end and England struggling to keep up with the evolution of teams abroad, as an English side has only reached 2 Champions League semi-finals in the past 4 years. Make no mistake about it, German sides and the Bundesliga are heading into some of the most scintillating seasons yet, as the massive gap between them and English sides only seems to widen with every coming season. There is also no doubt this dominance will be reflected on an international stage with spotlights already fixed on the World Cup next year – where some of the best German prospects in the world are looking to dazzle and entertain footballing fans and audiences on the grandest stage of them all.

3 Unlikely Transfer Targets Arsenal Must Pursue

Just one week is what remains left of another incredible and electrifying season full of unbelievable goals, implausible saves and some absolutelymario gomez scandalous activities on the pitch. (Most notably, Luis Suarez biting a chunk out of Branislav Ivanovic’s arm several weeks ago)

Although this season may not have been the most competitive one with respect to Manchester United securing their 20th Premier League title and three clubs already feeling the full effect of a disappointing and underachieving season in the notoriously-feared relegation zone, we’ve still been treated to some wonderful highs and regrettable lows, including the fast-improving and mythical talents of Gareth Bale at the top end, and the sad retirement of a veteran and legend of the game at the bottom: Sir Alex Ferguson.

However, this also sees a time where transfer talk begins to hot up, a roaring fire further fuelled by fans’ desperate wishes and the media’s clueless reports published for both attention, and money. On the other hand, one of the shy culprits rarely linked with big money moves each Summer may have broken the financial barrier manager Arsene Wenger has so insistently tried to maintain in past years with signings of relative unknowns which have infuriated both the fans and players at the club.

Nevertheless, this year has seen Arsenal’s owners claim Wenger has a £70million warchest at his disposal, a happy prospect Arsenal fans will surely be licking their lips at. With the usual suspects such as Stefan Jovetic of Fiorentina and Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuain linked with a summer move to the Emirates this year, I have taken a look at unlikely transfer targets Arsenal should try to pursue in order to build a team capable of contending for trophies again.

3. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – £13million

Saint-Etienne hitman Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has sensationally lit up the French league this year – scoring  a respectable 21 goals and nabbing 16 assists in 41 games this season, playing second fiddle to only Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the race for the Ligue 1 golden boot. A young player blessed with plenty of pace and skill with a calm and collected composure whenever in front of goal, Aubameyang’s transfer value has rocketed dramatically over the past few seasons. With the Gabon centre-forward enjoying the best form of his career so far, he has attracted many famous suitors from abroad, including the likes of Manchester City and Paris St. Germain. With a big decision still left to be made and seemingly being swept underneath the carpet until the culmination of the season, now would be the perfect time for Arsenal to swoop for the 23 year-old starlet. As Olivier Giroud has failed to step up to the mark miserably and establish himself as an Arsenal regular in the striking role, and with little squad depth in the position, Arsene Wenger could find himself digging deep into his pockets to secure the Les Verts forward who is also capable of playing as a right winger – a possibility which is surely a much better alternative to playing the inconsistent Aaron Ramsey. For as little as just £13million, Arsene Wenger could unearth a little gem in Aubameyang during the Summer transfer window – a signing almost every Arsenal fan would happily welcome to the Emirates.

How likely is the transfer? 55% – Aubameyang hasn’t given any hints as to which team he will be playing for next season and he has gained an increasing interest from big clubs in his talents, so the possibilities of his next destination are endless but he has publicly stated he would prefer a move away from Ligue 1.

2. Holger Badstuber – £22million

Possible Arsenal XI for next season

Possible Arsenal XI for next season

Perhaps the transfer that has the least chance of materalising yet one that would unquestionably pose a big impact on the inconsistent Arsenal defence, German centre-back Holger Badstuber would be an intelligent and beneficial addition to the Gunners’ back four. A towering player comfortable with soaring aerial duels and immaculate passing for somebody of his position; his unbreakable concentration and ability to maintain his discipline and composure on the pitch when defending have made his 12 performances in a Bayern shirt this campaign hard to fault. However, having missed most of the season due a string of frustrating injuries which stemmed from late October, the young defender still isn’t scheduled for a return to training until the close of the final month of the season. Furthermore, Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes replaced Badstuber with his fellow international representative Jerome Boateng, who has found unprecedented success in his new role at the heart of the defence. Now football pundits and fans alike are intensely speculating over whether the 24 year old will ever regain the stunning form and commanding presence on the field everyone knows he is capable of, in light of unfortunate injuries in recent years seeing future stars such as Aaron Ramsey or Anderson struggle to find that bit of special quality that allowed them to explode onto the footballing scene before their undeserved spells on the sidelines. A move to Arsenal could just be what Badstuber needs to silence the critics and doubters, with his place in Die Roten’s starting line-up in more danger than ever before. In fact, with the 2014 World Cup looming on the distant horizon, Badstuber needs regular playing time to cement the position he rightfully claimed 2 years ago in Joachim Low’s first team, vital playing time that may not be offered to him with the gauntlet of defensive powerhouses at Bayern’s disposal greater than ever.

How likely is the transfer? 15% – Badstuber had just started to find his feet with his name being one of the first on the teamsheet every week – and although he missed most of the season due to injury, its more than likely he will look to stay in his native country to fight for his place in Bayern’s back line.

1.Mario Gomez – £35million

Bayern Munich hitman Mario Gomez has been a prolific and established striker for several years now since his dream move to Bayern Munich from Stuttgart was completed four years ago. Despite not being the fastest or most technically gifted striker to grace some of Europe’s biggest stadiums, there may quite not be another forward on the planet who makes scoring goals look as easy as he does. Simply put, Mario Gomez is a goal-machine (netting an amazing 111 goals in 171 appearances for Bayern) with deadly finishing accuracy and a devastating proficiency when in front of goal – whether the ball is lofted high into the box or is delicately slid in front of his feet from one of his star teammates, expect Mario Gomez to find the back of the net 9 times out of 10 when given a clear-cut chance. However, this season has seen former Wolfsburg striker Mario Mandzukic break  into the Bayern starting line-up in dramatic fashion, shaking the dynamics of the Bundesliga with his 15 goals helping Die Bavarians secure their 22nd title, following a string of injuries suffered by Gomez at the start of the season.

As Gomez was forced to have eye surgery before having to go under the knife yet again for a troubled ankle halfway through the season, he slowly watched his chances of regaining his first team place again decrease rapidly with every spectacular performance put in by the Croatian hitman. With rumours of another Dortmund raid this Summer in the form of Robert Lewandowski and Gomez struggling to nail down a regular place in the Bayern line-up coupled with Arsenal’s agonizing striking woes, the German striker may be forced to look elsewhere in order to keep his 2014 World Cup bid alive – and he is certainly far too good to waste away the indisputable talent he clearly has on the sidelines.

How likely is the transfer? 35% – Even though Gomez has spent most of this season on the bench and whispers of a Lewandowski or Suarez transfer are growing louder, it will probably be another season before he decides to move elsewhere – especially as he is one of the best strikers in the world when being at full fitness and on top form.