“Get him on a plane and bring him back,” the United faithful sang the last time Cristiano Ronaldo revealed he wasn’t happy at Real Madrid, citing that the club chiefs knew “why.”
It says so much for the fondness the Portuguese still has in the memories of United fans who Ronaldo has repeatedly said were the only group of football fans that genuinely love him.
In the wake of his latest silent mudslings with Madrid administrators over their inability to shield him from Spanish tax authorities, the 33-year old appears certain that this time he really truly wants to leave the Galaticos.
As expected, Franchise-loving Ed Woodward and his board members in charge of the Red Devils transfer dealing have started pulling every available string to make the Portuguese’ inner boy’s heart desire and those of the stand occupants at Stretford End come to pass.
But do they really need him? Does a club on the journey to build a sustainable squad capable of at least winning major trophies need an ego-massage-needing prodigal son that will of course grant them goals and maybe a couple of trophies but will likewise end up impeding the growth of the coming generation of Old Trafford’s beacon bearers?
In an era where nearly all elite clubs struggled to buy their way to trophies, United with the aid of Fergies youth-centric development were able to get the likes of Paul Scholes and David Beckham to play for them for free and even if they occasionally flexed their financial muscles, Ferguson rarely fancied show boys.
It was always about how a player will fit in and not how he can magically lift the whole team on his back.
Since his retirement, the Red Devils have been busy looking for ways to recreate such magic. However, to do that they must first let their eyes off this tempting cookie jar.