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The Battle of Ankles Deep and the Dark Forces of Madrid

J. R. R. Tolkien was a great dreamer. Which was perhaps why the Lord of the Rings was a rather good fantasy novel. It had all those elements one would ask for in a well written fantasy: the good, pure evil, adventure, perils, the good getting lured by the evil.

So forgive me if I spend the next few lines drawing tedious references to that masterpiece.

The Ronaldo saga is one such work of fiction (albeit a bad one), that is incidentally a part of reality — go figure. The involvement of the evil forces of Madrid trying to lure Ronaldo (read Frodo) towards the dark side, has now reached that stage where we’ve moved from small issues, like Ronaldo’s ego, to his ankle.

I’ll save you some trouble here; clearly I’m not doing a good job of drawing a convincing analogy between Tolkien’s work and this, but then it would be doing a disservice to the masterpiece if I did. So I’ll just end it by saying that the title of the post was derived from the Battle of Helms Deep. How that has anything to do with Ronaldo possibly undergoing surgery, I wouldn’t know.

Back to reality, Manchester United Football Club has issued a statement about Ronaldo’s ankle:

Manchester United medical staff met with the medical team from the Portuguese FA and Cristiano Ronaldo in Lisbon today regarding the ongoing treatment of his injured right ankle. As a result, further specialist advice is being sought and an announcement will be made on any action in due course.

That’s the official line, although according to other reports he might undergo an operation. One would suspect it to be minor because it would have seriously inhibited his game had it been any serious; he was carrying the injury for about two to three months according to him.

Ronaldo is scheduled to return to pre-season training on July 14 but the offshoot of his injury concern is that Madrid might be put off, which is what the Telegraph reckons. I think that’s bollocks really. Calderon needs a star signing to satisfy the restless Bernabeu faithful and to strengthen his position in the face of elections. And having made so many advances through the media, they would really be left with egg on their faces if they don’t sign Ronaldo this season.

So whilst all went quiet over the past week in the Spanish press, one reckons that could be due to the hysteria surrounding Spain’s Euro 2008 campaign. Now that the press have gotten over Spain’s victory, focus has shifted back and the latest bit of drivel (this time from Madrid based AS) has something to do with Ronaldo going to Miami, thus sidestepping an opportunity to meet with Ferguson:

As’ claims seem to indicate that the player’s time at Old Trafford is up. The paper reports that Ronaldo will tonight leave the island of Sardinia, where he has been since Portugal’s exit from Euro 2008, but rather than heading back to Manchester he and his girlfriend will join friends for a trip to Miami. Apparently his journey to the Floridian metropolis is confirmed after he procured tickets without first returning home to the Manchester area. As deems this gambit a product of agent Jorge Mendes’ strategy. Mendes allegedly regards this move as integral to angering United and thus increasing their chances of letting Ronaldo leave for Real Madrid.

As much as I have admitted that my efforts at linking this saga to a fantasy novel was a poor one, I can’t help but attempt to make that comparison over and over again. [Not to worry, I won’t do it.]

In short, Ronaldo is not due until the 14th. He can go wherever he pleases. All that strategy designed to avoid Fergie is bollocks really. Yes, he’s behaved like a twat all through, but he is not stupid. He knows he has to meet Fergie some day. So let me stick my neck out (although it’s not too much of a neck sticking really) and tell you that nothing is happening until July 14, for sure. Marca can stuff all those copies that proclaimed ‘Madrid to sign Ronaldo by July 7’ up its Castillian hole.

As I’ve said earlier, I think Ronaldo will stay at United this season. Although that does little to change what I think of him. However, all I am going to be doing for the next month and a half is calling the bluff on stories in broadsheets and rags, alike. I think it’s not a very difficult job with these tabloids, to be honest, but sometimes one can get carried away with reports that may sound authentic. I’ll be sure to put on my thinking/second guessing cap on when I read reports for the next month.

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In other reports, there is certainly a big chance of Queiroz seriously considering the Portugal job, but it is not surprising. is running the Solskjaer story — a good read.

And I guess, I don’t have anything intelligent to say. So I’ll hand the stage over to you.

Announcement: You may have noticed a small Manchester United logo by the side of my comments. That’s an avatar for those not familiar with forums. You could get one too. All you need to do is go to sign up by providing your email address (same as the one you use here) and upload a favourite image, and voila, it will show up here like magic. I will tweak the avatar size because it’s currently a bit too small. But, one enhancement at a time.

Over to you…