Saturday, 21 June 2008

Doing a van Hooijdonk

SIR Alex can throw as many tea cups and hairdryers as he likes.
He can scream “tap-up” and cry foul until he goes blue in the face.... again. It wont make any difference in the long run.
Because, if Cristiano Ronaldo has made up his mind to join Real Madrid - and it seems that he has - then he will go. Full stop.
Forget that he is still on a four-year contract worth £120,000 a week. That wont be worth the paper it’s written on.
Forget that United insist he’s not for sale at any price.
And don’t believe for a minute the empty threat that United will let the show pony rot in the reserve for a year rather than let him move to Spain.
There is a limit to how much you can fine a player; how much “gardening leave” an employer can give an employee. And Ronaldo could argue, quite rightly, that playing the stiffs would devalue him and harm his international career.And, if push comes to shove, he can always do a ‘van Hooijdonk’ and go on strike.
It’s not often that a player gets the better of Sir Alex. Just ask Ruud van Nistelrooy.
But Ronaldo has been crafty. He’s been playing some neat one-twos with the world’s press since leaving for Euro 2008. He’s dropped a hint here, a whisper there - without ever really saying he wants a transfer. And this adds up to the fact that the dirty deal with Real is already done and dusted.
It must be driving Sir Alex mad. Because, for once, there is absolutely nothing he can do about it.
But I, for one, will not shed any tears when Ronaldo departs for Spain.
Yes, he’s just had a phenomenal season. Yes, he’s scored some incredible goals. But I wont miss his blatant diving; his arm-waving and bleating at decisions; in fact any of his show-pony antics.
Not for one minute. I just hope he takes Tim Henman and Joey Barton with him.

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