Thursday, June 11, 2009

Obscene is one of the many words that could be used to describe Cristiano Ronaldo's £80 million transfer to Real Madrid. One of many, yes, but possibly the most apt.

In this world of financial woes and a high percentage of people living below the poverty line, this alone makes the size of the fee sickening.

The papers and online sites will soon be full of "What else could £80 million buy you?" style features, citing the vast numbers of expensive cars, private jets and so on that you could purchase for that amount of money. But why would you want or need more than one anyway?!

You could buy everyone in the UK a bag of chips for that money, but more importantly look at what a difference that amount of money could make in the world.

I went into the Sports Relief website to see what that money could buy and you are looking at saving the lives of millions, providing educational facilities, fresh water and of course food to the world's starving, providing medical centres and doctors and nurses. But we all know that and nothing is going to stop transfers like this happening.

Taking all of this aside and looking at it from a footballing viewpoint only, any transfer like this only highlights the vast gulf between the few elite Clubs and the rest, but again, we knew all that already anyway.

We East Fife fans have been celebrating the recent return, on a free transfer, of former defensive stalwart John Ovenstone. Ah for those different circles we move in.

It's a huge gamble by Real Madrid. Ronaldo will be a marked man and you can see him being injured early doors after a clattering tackle from a midfield hitman out to make a name for himself. Will the pricetag seem reasonable if he's missing injured and suspended for a lot of the season?

Then you have to look at the pressure on Real Madrid to succeed now, with this transfer and that of Kaka's. Surely only a La Liga and Champions League double would be acceptable for the money spent. Realsitic? Well money doesn't always guarantee success as I'm sure the likes of Man City will soon become aware. Look at Chelsea, their returns for the money spent is not good and still no Champions League silverware to show for it all.

Looking at the English game, Man United receiving such a vast amount of cash cannot be good for those challenging them for the title. We all know Sir Alex's shrewdness in the transfer market. How many world quality players will he be able to get for that if he wants to?

He bought Ronaldo from Sporting Lisbon for £12 million in 2003 and he's seen trophy after trophy delivered from this key investment. The huge profit on his transfer is fantastic business by Man United and shows once again Sir Alex's key philosophy that no one player is indispensible or bigger than the Club. I like that.

As mentioned, Chelsea and Man City are maybe the only two Clubs that can realistically compete with Man U in the spending stakes now, but don't even expect Sir Alex to spend anywhere near that amount of money in bringing in new players, at the risk of disrupting his winning team.

Finally you come to the player himself. The pressure on him will be immense. He will be branded a flop very easily and a waste of money. You know that the media are just waiting for that to happen.

He had a poor season by his standards for Man U I felt. Yes, he got goals, but his overall play wasn't as good as we've previously seen. Was he unsettled? We'll never truely know.

I don't really watch to much Spanish football, except the El Classico matchups between Barca and Real. Barca winning the Champions League raised the stakes in Spain and Real Madrid have now gone all in. It's win or bust for them and it means that I'm sure I'm not alone in saying that I'll be paying a little bit closer attention to the Spanish results next season.

One thing I am certain about, without Ronaldo's diving, petulance and hissy fits, the English Premiership is going to be a far more enjoyable viewing proposition as far as I'm concerned next season.

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