Cristiano Ronaldo's Manchester United Interest Will Distract Real Madrid in 2013

Mike ChiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2013

GRANADA, SPAIN - AUGUST 26:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid CF reacts during the La Liga match between Granada CF and Real Madrid CF at Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes on August 26, 2013 in Granada, Spain.  (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo is arguably the biggest soccer star in the world, but no one player is bigger than the team.

With persisting rumours regarding Ronaldo's potential desire to return to Manchester United at some point, it will be nearly impossible for Real Madrid to focus on the task at hand in 2013-14.

According to Daniel Taylor of The Guardian, Ronaldo has told the Manchester United brass that he would like to come back to Old Trafford at some point. This report doesn't necessarily come as a big surprise, considering the fact that Ronaldo has been linked to his old club all summer long.

To complicate matters, however, Taylor tweeted that Ronaldo is close to signing an extension with Real Madrid, so a Manchester United return may only come to fruition near the end of his career.

Whatever the case, it seems as though Ronaldo is still infatuated with the allure of being a Red Devil.

Despite the fact that Ronaldo has been far more productive as a member of Los Blancos than he ever was with Manchester United, it's possible that Ronaldo doesn't believe his legacy can be complete until he dons the Aon-emblazoned kit once more.

While it's Ronaldo's prerogative to think in that manner, it isn't fair to his current team.

Real Madrid are also one of the best clubs in the world, and his main focus should be on winning a La Liga title as well as a UEFA Champions League title with Madrid.

Perhaps that is the case, but if his interest in Manchester United is as intense as Taylor suggests it is, there is no doubt that it is taking up a sizable chunk of his attention.

Ronaldo's teammates hear and see the same rumours that fans consume as well, so knowing that their star player's heart may not be in it has to be disconcerting.

Winning La Liga is difficult enough without all kinds of drama to worry about, but it's going to be impossible for Madrid to avoid it.

Los Blancos had a fantastic season last year as they finished the campaign with a 26-5-7 record along with 85 points. Despite that, Madrid finished well off the pace in second as Barcelona ran away with the title by virtue of a 100-point season.

Barca clearly haven't gotten any worse with stars like Lionel Messi, Cesc Fabregas, Neymar, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and others running wild, so the gap between Barcelona and Real Madrid could get even wider this season.

With 201 goals in 201 career matches with Real Madrid, Ronaldo means absolutely everything to the squad. There is plenty of talent elsewhere on the roster, but Ronaldo is the straw the stirs the drink.

He's coming off three consecutive seasons with 53 or more goals, and if Madrid are going to pose a true threat to Barcelona atop La Liga, he'll need to be at his very best on a match-to-match basis.

Even if the Real Madrid players don't intend to be bothered by Ronaldo's potential interest in Manchester United, they won't be able to escape it.

Ronaldo-to-United rumours are going to be all over every major publication in Spain, and the media is sure to constantly ask questions about it as well.

Whenever a huge star in any sport is rumoured to be going elsewhere, it creates a firestorm that essentially paralyzes everyone involved.

Madrid have reached a point where they need to either agree with Ronaldo on an extension to quell the United talk, or they need to seriously consider selling Ronaldo.

The latter option obviously isn't ideal, but it's certainly something to consider if Ronaldo is unwilling to commit to Madrid.

Whatever the case, the 2013-14 season figures to be a tumultuous one for Real Madrid as it will be extremely difficult for them to ignore that Ronaldo-related media circus that is sure to ensue.


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