Real Madrid: 3 Reasons Ronaldo Should Never Be Sad About Playing for Los Blancos

Aidan ReynoldsContributor IIISeptember 24, 2012

Real Madrid: 3 Reasons Ronaldo Should Never Be Sad About Playing for Los Blancos

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    Cristiano Ronaldo is spoiled and needs to get over himself. He is too important to the team, and Real Madrid should pay him whatever he wants. If he wants to leave, fine. Madrid will replace him soon enough.

    Whatever your opinion of Ronaldo—and everyone has one—there’s no denying his talent. So when he stated to reporters that he declined to celebrate two goals against Grenada because he was “sad” about his situation at Madrid, the world paid attention.

    After Real beat Manchester City a couple of weeks later—thanks to a 90th-minute Ronaldo strike—he apparently felt a bit better. “Today I am happy”, he announced to the press (via The Daily Telegraph), but the qualifier of “today” doesn’t fill the listener with confidence about his future.

    As was outlined at Marca.com, Ronaldo currently ranks as the 10th-highest earner in world football, something that he obviously feels isn’t good enough.

    When someone rises as high as Ronaldo has, there is a certain amount of ego-massaging that the clubs need to do to keep them happy. We saw this in 2010 when Wayne Rooney indicated he wouldn’t sign a new deal at Manchester United. Two days later, of course, he had signed a deal worth £30 million.

    Ronaldo will feel that being constantly mentioned in the same breath as the phrase “best player in the world” makes him eligible for the fiscal benefits that title affords.

    This is sound logic, of course, but more money doesn’t always equate to a better career move. Real Madrid is a fantastic club that offers a multitude of reasons to stay—ones that both include and stretch beyond the mere financial.

Prestige

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    It’s a simple question that requires no knowledge of football whatsoever. Where do the best players in the world want to play?

    If you answered “Why, Reynolds, at the best clubs in the world, of course!” then give yourself a pat on the back.

    The fact that Ronaldo was lured from Manchester United shows that the Bernabeu is a bigger draw than Old Trafford.

    The £80 million transfer fee had a lot to do with it, of course, but the prospect of the trophies, glamour and prestige that go with playing for Los Blancos would be more than enough to tempt players away. The weather’s better in Madrid than North West England, too.

    A move to Barcelona is out of the question, so there is nowhere in the world that can offer Ronaldo the same level of status and respect that he can get from Madrid. A new superpower like Paris St. Germain could make him the highest-paid player in the world, but they will never have the history and reputation of Real.

    Ronaldo is now 27 and will be looking for his last big contract soon. It’s understandable that he wants to make the most of it, and his legacy will ultimately be decided by how many trophies he wins.

    Winning the Champions League with Los Blancos would make him only the 10th player to win with two different clubs—Clarence Seedorf remains the only player to have done it with three—and this will be the goal he has in mind for himself.

    However, regardless of whether he stays at the Bernabeu, playing for Real Madrid will remain the pinnacle of his career.

A New Contract Will Not Drastically Improve His Financial Standing

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    Ronaldo maintains that his situation is motivated by trophies and respect, not money, but that doesn’t exclude it from the discussion.

    The problem that will ultimately decide his Madrid future is a result of both age and wage, and it brings us back to Manchester.

    When David Beckham signed for Real in 2003, he brought into common parlance “The Beckham Law.” This really had nothing to do with old Golden Balls, but was instead a vagary of the Spanish tax system.

    This law allows foreigners who have lived in Spain for less than 10 years—but earn above €120,000 per annum—to pay a reduced tax rate, that of 23 percent rather than 45.

    Should Ronaldo extend his contract now, he will become ineligible for the “Beckham Law,” drastically increasing his taxes in the process.

    This doesn’t just affect him, either. Madrid will also feel the sting of the increase, which could persuade them to let Ronaldo see out his remaining two years at this current rate. This would save them an estimated €45 million over that period (via Goal.com).

    This will be a problem for CR7, as he will then be 29 when his deal expires. Despite the risk of another team poaching him for free, Madrid may feel that they will be better off losing his services as he approaches his fourth decade of existence.

    Regardless of talent, once a player reaches 30, there is a silent alarm that goes off in the offices of football clubs around the world. It brings up images of decline, increased injury risk and lessening transfer value. The assumption is that the player is now past his peak—less of an asset and more of an albatross.

    An aging Cristiano Ronaldo is still Cristiano Ronaldo, but his position at the very top of the football world will be under threat. There is always another player to emerge with incredible talent, and a club like Madrid will be looking to acquire them as early as possible.

    A bloated contract for a player over 30 gives less room for manoeuvrability in the transfer market and leads to conflict.

    We have already seen this with Kaka’s current situation at the club; he is clearly surplus to Jose Mourinho’s requirements, but Madrid is required to pay his salary anyway. That this salary happens to be the same as Ronaldo’s will not be lost on the Portuguese player.

    Madrid cannot risk another repeat of this, so will be wary about throwing money at Ronaldo to keep him happy.  He has been a great asset to the team, but they don’t owe him anything. He has been well paid for his services; while he may consider it inadequate, the alternatives at Madrid aren’t very promising.

Respect Will Come

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    This is the other side of the coin—no pun intended—when Ronaldo’s motivations for his sadness are explored.

    The FIFA Ballon d’Or has eluded Ronaldo since 2008, and his impressive performances for Madrid have been overlooked. Messi took three consecutive titles following Ronaldo’s victory, and Andrés Iniesta recently beat Ronaldo to the UEFA Best Player in Europe award.

    This must be a source of annoyance for the Madrid player, and he will construe it as a lack of respect.

    Ronaldo has a reputation as a prima donna, and the reaction to his outpouring was not one of sympathy.

    There are more pressing things in the world than the happiness of a footballer who makes £8 million a year, definitely, but Ronaldo does not get the respect he deserves for his performances in a Madrid shirt.

    Sir Alex Ferguson was the ideal manager for Ronaldo, as he knew exactly how to handle him. The importance of ego-massaging arises again here, with Ferguson able to make Ronaldo feel like a respected and valued member of the team. An arm round the shoulder can work wonders, and it is at this level of man-management that Ferguson shines.

    Mourinho will not provide him with the same luxury. When asked about Ronaldo’s emotional well-being, Mourinho bluntly pointed out that, from his point of view, it made no difference as long as his performances didn’t suffer (via Sports.Yahoo.com).

    This is a valid argument, but the credit will remain with Ronaldo if he continues to excel. Complaining about a lack of respect does not mean it will be granted, and the fans will certainly not be persuaded.

    Football is a fickle business, and favourites will come and go within the walls of the Bernabeu. Ronaldo’s words and attitude often dull the brilliance of his talent, but respect will be his if he plays with no axe to grind.

    Refusing to celebrate goals because of professional grievances is petulant, as is airing those same grievances to the media. If negotiations need to start, they should do so in private. Respect for his ability has never been in doubt, but his individualistic attitude doesn’t make him an endearing character.

    There were reports of his deteriorating relationship with Marcelo, as well as his unhappiness about the treatment of his friend and teammate, Fabio Coentrao. However, if he was seeking an exit from Madrid, he would have expressed that desire before the transfer window closed.

    Alvaro Arbeloa stated that all Ronaldo needed was support from his teammates and the fans to be happy. Ronaldo is never going to be universally adored, but every time he publicly criticises his club, he risks alienating the fans further.

    It might take him playing out the remainder of his career at Madrid to be recognised as a legend of the Bernabeu. If that happens, all his posturing and protesting will likely be forgotten.