Last summer, I didn't know what to think about Cristiano Ronaldo's possible departure. Now, the reigning player of the year is all but gone, and not much has changed. I still don't know what to make of losing one of the best players in the world.
On the one hand, I believe Ronaldo will be impossible to replace. He scored 42 goals two years ago while alternating between wing and forward. Despite injury and poor early form, he nearly led the Premier League in scoring again this season. Regardless of numbers, he's a scoring threat other teams are constantly aware of.
That's not something you can replace with a couple of Antonio Valencias or Franck Riberys.
Ah, Ribery. The French winger has been linked to Old Trafford for a few months now. He's fantastic, and I love his style, but I just can't find myself eager to look at the ugliest footballer in the world on a regular basis.
Seriously, he's hideous. Look at him. LOOK AT HIM!
Not that I was particularly interested in Ronaldo's looks, though his new buddy, Florentino, did describe him yesterday as "an officially good looking guy." It's just never good for your team to get that much uglier. Especially when the original winger was officially good looking. It was official!
So, the team is (potentially) uglier and definitely lacking a dominant wing option. Yes, I know Ryan Giggs had a nice year (if you're the sentimental type), but are his 36-year-old legs the ones you want featuring frequently?
And behind the old master...Nani? Ji-Sung Park? Paul Scholes? They're all nice role players, but that's the point. They were nice role players who complemented or substituted for Ronaldo.
None will replace him, and United's squad as a whole is probably much weaker.
There is, however, one United player whom everyone assumes will benefit from Ronaldo's departure.
Wayne Rooney has been spectacular for England in a central striker role. Without Ronaldo (and his ego) around, Rooney will have to be Manchester's main goal scorer. His recent form for the national side suggests he's up to it.
I am thrilled at the prospect of watching him flourish without having to submit to Ronaldo—or worry about who's submitting to whom.
Sorry, I had to include that one. It actually brings up another positive of Ronaldo leaving: My friends can no longer make fun of me for rooting for such an unlikable person.
Seriously, if he weren't so fantastic on the pitch, is there a person on earth who wouldn't want to punch Cristiano Ronaldo in the face? The preening, the diving, the pleas to be sold, the unusual hair, and the everything else that just makes him seem like a...um...well, everything that makes this picture.
Yeah, the guy's a weird dude, and that I will not miss.
One way or another, he's finally gone. Whether that's good or bad doesn't need to be decided on the day of his transfer.
While I look forward to a whole summer of rumored arrivals instead of the daily Ronaldo departure story, I can't help but think that no matter who puts on the famed No. 7 shirt next, no one will be better.
At least Ribery doesn't wear short shorts.