It was all going so well. Manchester United were the best team in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo the best player. They'd won a terrific double; he'd scored 42 goals along the way. They'd held off Chelsea, he'd scored the only Reds' goal in regulation.
And then the headlines started coming. "Ronnie to Barca," "Ronaldo Leaving Manchester," "Cristiano's Mom Wants Him in White". Day-after-day, it became more and more evident that my favorite Red would be leaving Old Trafford.
It was difficult to grasp at first. How do you deal with the best player in the world wanting to leave the best squad? How can you justify it for them, no matter where they're from or what their mother wants? I was worried what this meant for United, and what it would mean to me as a fan.
I became so upset about it that I even started counting ways I could re-arrange my Ronaldo, 7 Manchester jersey into a new player's name. My sister has an old Wayne Rooney jersey with an eight on it, so I figured I was an "S" away from being able to make a brand new Anderson kit. Seriously. Losing a star will do these things to you.
Lately though, it's become quite easy. Reading various Ronaldo articles, quotes, and interviews, it's become obvious that he seems, in fact, "arrogant and spiteful," as Roma midfielder David Pizarro put it.
My friend Paul likes to mention that quote anytime Ronaldo comes up, and I have no comeback now.
Viewing No. 7 as the selfish and arrogant footballer made losing his greatness more bearable. I've lately been reading all the transfer rumors (rumours, as the English authors write) and wondering which would come true for Manchester.
Would United end up with Robinho, as so many papers have said? So many forwards were thrown out, like Luis Fabiano, Klass-Jan Huntelaar, or Karim Benzema. How about a talented mid, like Wesley Sneijder?
I myself have begun to pull for an outside shot at Ronaldinho, if for no other reason than to keep a talented player with Ronald in his name at Old Trafford. We could give him the old No. 7 kit and just add the suffix. That'd be fun, right? It wasn't so long ago the other Ronny wanted to join the Red Devils.
The whole process changed today though, as Manchester United's official site is reporting that Ronaldo called the team and said he'll be staying.
What am I to do with this? I've just gotten comfortable with hating my ex-favorite player, and now he's coming back to the team? Do I cheer for him or just keep dreaming up transfer scenarios until he leaves? Can I make myself like Ronaldo again, just because he's still scoring goals for my favorite team?
Ronaldo has been quoted elsewhere as saying that a few pretty goals will make everyone forget the whole thing. At the time, it seemed like he was talking about scoring for Real Madrid, but now that quote would seem (in an even more arrogant fashion) to apply to Manchester fans.
Will I forget, though? I can't see it happening at this point. I can't see myself just pretending that because Ronaldo is still wearing the red uniform that everything's fine and he never wanted out. I can't glue the letters back on my United kit (seriously, they won't stick). And I'll never get over that one day he will still be leaving.
But another 42 goals might ease the pain a little.
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