Nothing makes me want to watch football as much as the close-season. In a few weeks I will be desperate, watching the intertoto cup and unimportant friendlies between clubs that I would never bother with under normal circumstances.
Usually the summer is filled with transfer talk, and this is an interesting excitement to fill the void with. This summer however, has had very few transfers take place. Hleb only just moved to Barcelona, and that has been on the verge of completion for months. The same can be said all over the world, Ronaldinho finally moving, Nasri finally going to Arsenal. These are all quite boring, and not very suspenseful.
But Cristiano Ronaldo is the greatest player in the world and I am a Manchester United fan. Many fans are annoyed at Ronaldo, but I accept his position, or wanting to be in the strongest position to make his own decision, and still want him to return to play for us. Some people have been belittling his success, saying that he only does well at United 'cos he is given free roam, and supported by Rooney, Teves and Scholes.
The fact of the matter is that Ronaldo scored over 40 goals for United last season. He was the star in a team that won the Champions League, and I love him for that. But Cristiano is a Real Madrid fan, he has been since he was a child, and he wants to play for them some day. It is not his intention to play his whole career in England.
But why would he go this summer? Madrid are not ready for him, signing him now would destabilise the team they are building. They are not in the Champions League next year, and do not look strong enough to push for the Spanish League against Barcelona. At the same time this is Sir Alex Ferguson's dénouement, his last great team before retirement. Now is not the time for a transfer.
But Ronaldo thinks of the future, and wants to be in the strongest bargaining position between the clubs, and that is why he has acted as he has. I still don’t believe he will make the move this summer, even though he will doubtlessly so this eventually.
And Why Would United sell? Manchester United are not a club to sell players on anyone else's terms. They do not need the money. Infact, losing Ronaldo may be a big blow to the club, in merchandise and marketing, but possibly also in prize money, and so selling Ronaldo would cost money. It would certainly cost prestige. So Sir Alex has no reason to sell.
And so I think Ronaldo will stay put. He will return from injury, and return to United. In a few summers, he will go to Madrid, and Sir Alex will retire, but until that day, years from now, I cannot see another outcome.
UPDATE - well, it looks like I was right. According to football365.com, Sir Alex Ferguson has met with Cristiano Ronaldo and insists the winger will not be sold to Real Madrid. Ferguson said, "I can say he'll be a Manchester United player next season. That's our stance - he won't be sold."