Criticising football agents and the influence they have over their clients may be one of the hottest topics in football today, but it’s ‘super-agent’ Jorge Mendes who holds the crown for being the most despised of them all.
At least that’s the assumption based on this morning’s announcement from the Portuguese representative, who single handedly broke Manchester United hearts and staved off the nightmares which have been common place amongst Real Madrid fans for weeks now, in just one interview.
The revelation that Cristiano Ronaldo will never be returning to Old Trafford is one that will hit the Red Devils hard. What makes it even worse is that the fact that the damning statement comes from his agent, the man who would pocket a fortune if he were to make the switch.
As such the comments made, and then published by the Spanish media, appear to mark a crude finalisation to any of the rumours that have been circulating over the course of the past two months. Not only is Ronaldo’s return to United improbable, according to Menes it’s “impossible”.
Ronaldo to United
The first whiff of uncertainty with regards to Ronaldo’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu coincidentally became apparent soon after Angel Di Maria’s sensational switch to Old Trafford.
The gist of the supposed narrative suggested that Ronaldo had made a futile plea to president Florentino Perez in order to retain the Argentine’s services, speculation backed by his comments to journalists.
The superstar forward told how he would have done things differently were it his decision, prompting talk that he was unhappy in the Spanish capital. The way his quotes were billed inferred that he might as well have admitted he wanted a United return there and then.
United supporters' hype
Fairly soon the idea had spread like wildfire, and United supporters quickly became obsessed with the idea of perhaps the world’s greatest player once again calling Old Trafford home.
The conjecture surrounding the proposed unhappiness Ronaldo was feeling with regards to life at Madrid got so fantastic that even Chelsea were said to be weighing up using their financial might to lure him back to the Premier League.
Of course Jose Mourinho in fact had about as much intention of reuniting himself with Ronaldo as he did passing up on the chance to sign Francesc Fabregas this summer; which is to say none at all.
Nonetheless the interest and intrigue from United was undoubtedly present, so much so that a band of particularly expectant United fans even flew a plane over the Estadio El Madrigal during Madrid’s game against Villarreal trailing a banner which read ‘COME HOME RONALDO’.
Yet the more grounded of fans - admittedly the majority of them are neutral - had more than just an inkling that the Ronaldo deal was nothing but manic hype driven by the papers and latched onto by those who are keen to see United make a quick return to the summit of English football.
Numerous valuations flitted in and out of the public eye, and certain reports claimed the Portugal captain would be on £500,000-a-week - yes that is half a million - simply to be playing for the Red Devils.
That’s why supporters of United can’t have been too surprised with Mendes’s overriding clarification. The packaging of the reports surrounding the dream deal in question may have flattered to deceive at times but there was never even a shred of a possibility it could happen, not for the next few years anyway.
Whilst Ronaldo remains in his peak years there’s not a chance Madrid are going to part with him, regardless of the fee wafted under their noses. The club has carved a niche for paying over the odds to bring in the best players in the world, not let them go, and they’re not about to start with a forward who could well be the greatest footballer the planet has ever seen by the time he calls time on his career.
Similarly the move would have made very little sense for Ronaldo, despite the fact that he has reason to be relatively miffed at what he perceives to be Perez’s transfer decisions weakening the team.
The Champions League victory which gave Madrid their coveted La Decima triumph - Ronaldo scored in the final against Atletico - was a crowning achievement for what has been a remarkably successful tenure in Spain, and at the moment the 29-year-old is the undisputed king of the footballing world.
His Ballon D’Or win earlier this year has been enough to push him ahead of arch-rival Lionel Messi in the estimations of many for the time being, and the ridiculous attacking form which sees him sitting on 269 goals in 257 appearances for Madrid serves as a timely indication that Los Blancos took a player on the brink of being world-class and made him realise every scrap of his potential.
As Menes put it, “he breaks all the records and is the best athlete ever” at the Bernabeu. To put that in other words he is the god he always aspired to be - Ronaldo’s own ego won’t permit him to risk that status.
When all is said and done though United have little to grumble about. Over £150million has already been spent as Van Gaal attempts to usher in his new era, and on reflection it could be said that Ronaldo merely represents the glorious past which abandoned the Red Devils when Sir Alex Ferguson decided to retire.
Instead his former club’s fans should be anticipating a transition to new horizons, spurred on by the likes of Radamel Falcao and the aforesaid Di Maria. Ronaldo may love the club due to the six years he spent honing his abilities there but he’s moved on, and United would be wise to as well.
So let’s hear no qualms or frustrations now that Menes has confirmed the inevitable. The idea was heartwarming and the rumours were infectious, but Ronaldo was never going to be playing for United. He’s the Galacticos’ darling boy now.