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Unlike many people who are offering critical opinions on Cristiano Ronaldo I watched all 90 minutes of his interview with Piers Morgan.

My view of modern professional footballers is coloured by the life experiences of those I knew when I was a kid. Back then, Ian St John combined the early years of his career with an apprenticeship in Motherwell Bridge. Many of those before and around him were part-timers from start to finish. They were also slaves: as soon as they signed a professional contract they were registered to that club until they were sold or released. Pre-Bosman players did not have freedom of contract.

No question, Cristiano is a lucky man to have been born into his era, Regardless of ability, anyone who can afford to turn down a €350 million offer, in the twilight of his career or at any other time, is blessed indeed.

And yet the slave mentality persists, Worse, it is supported by the attitudes and behaviour of media that haven’t really changed from the days when press boxes housed a disproportionate number of drunks and the semi-literate.

The response to the Ronaldo interview has been distorted. He has been portrayed as an uppity millionaire who is upset because his ego allows him to believe he should have special treatment. Possibly that criticism is valid, but he is also a man with undeniable grievances.

It is undeniable that chunks of the Morgan interview have been distorted and taken out of context, for example Sky Sports is reporting that he would be happy if Arsenal won the Premier League. It fails to mention his qualification, ‘after Manchester United’, or that his remark was in response to a question by the Arsenal supporting Piers Morgan. If he had chosen to give the interview to Sky’s Gary Neville rather than to a turd in a Savile Row suit I don’t need to ask how it would have been presented by the channel.

As a Man U supporter I am sad that Cristiano will never play for the club again. But given his emotional attachment to it, I am equally sad that he had been allowed to feel betrayed. That is classic mismanagement for which the club’s decision makers are entirely responsible. I’m beyond sad by his revelation that in the twelve years or so between his departure and his return the club’s infrastructure was entirely unchanged. I’m infuriated that its reviled owners have never met the man whose image has underpinned the countless millions they have trousered since they were allowed by our absurd corporate system to buy the business with borrowed money.

Today we are being told that the club has initiated appropriate steps. The (formerly Manchester) Guardian is reporting that these include taking CR7 to court. To me the most appropriate step the owners could take would be to meet with the finest player the club has known (with the possible exception of George Best) for a serious discussion, for it’s clear he knows a hell of a lot more about the business than they do.

Categories: Sport
  1. November 18, 2022 at 4:54 pm

    Can’t agree with the Best comparison. Best was an unreliable drunk who left no legacy to his many young adoring fans. While Ronaldo is a fine example of both, a man and an athlete.

    • November 18, 2022 at 4:59 pm

      I saw Best, as a young NI player and at the other end with Hibs. His legacy is that he’s the best British player I have ever seen, followed closely by Jimmy Johnston, Jim Baxter (neither of whom was averse to a bevvy) and the now forgotten Andy Weir.

      • November 18, 2022 at 6:40 pm

        Quintin, I was a ball boy in the 60’s at Burnley on the day United came. I was in awe of George Best and was for many years. I remember being at the opening of Willie Morgan’s new boutique in Burnley. Willie’s mate George Best was to open it. Me and hundreds of adoring fans turned out to see George. He didn’t show up and my young opinion of him was formed.

  2. Gavin
    November 18, 2022 at 6:53 pm

    Like you, Quintin, I was born and brought up in Motherwell and supported my local team. My first game at Fir Park was against Dundee Utd in 1960, a 0-0 draw, but I was hooked. “Sinjie” was away to Liverpool by then. In later years, I moved south and began a love affair with Manchester United, so like many football fans, I supported two teams. I saw George Best play and he was truly exceptional when he was on his game. He was human, too and had his demons, well versed, we know.

    Christiano Ronaldo became the new messiah for Utd and like Best before him, was a footballing genius. I loved, and still get excited watching him play, despite father time slowing him down. Now, I’m not party to all of the goings on behind the scenes, nor knowledgeable about who disrespected who. However, based on CR7’s reaction at the recent Spurs game, which I watched on TV, I felt on that occasion that Ronaldo was totally at fault, and I base that view on almost 20 years of people management. He was asked to do a job, which he is very well compensated for, and he blatantly refused, because his ego was slighted. As I said, I am not party to other goings on behind the scenes, but if the Spurs example is any indication of his actions elsewhere, then management would be entitled to deal with him appropriately.

    CR7 has been a wonderful player for Utd but he is a paid employee of a large organisation and as such, has a duty to do his job as required, and discuss grievances within the club, not in an open forum. I feel he has let himself down badly in the eyes of most supporters and the club itself, but I can’t help feeling that he has orchestrated the whole outburst himself in order to execute his getaway as quickly as possible and at a time when he is away in Qatar, and away from the furore back here.

    For me, as much as I loved him as a player, he has burned his bridges and the quicker he disappears from Manchester United, the better. I find it very sad as a Man Utd fan of many years.

  3. Robin Longmore
    November 19, 2022 at 9:07 am

    Spot on Quintin, complete distortion by the media as ever.

  4. January 1, 2023 at 10:02 pm

    Still struggling to get my head around the fact that all last weeks English Premier League matches from Monday to Thursday including Man U were screened by Amazon Prime.and presented by Gabby Logan. supported by Alan Shearer!!!!.
    An unexpected bonus for me of using Amazon to purchase your book but I still can’t come to terms with BBC pundits turning out for the opposition.

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