Cristiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas: Here We Go Again

George KotschyCorrespondent IApril 4, 2009

LONDON - FEBRUARY 08:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United gestures during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Manchester United at Upton Park on February 8, 2009 in London, England.  (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

There are 88 days left until the transfer window reopens but already two of last summer's sagas are being rekindled.

If you pick up a copy of today's Guardian, you will see that the headline concerns an agreed £75 million move for Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid.

As I picked up the newspaper I craned my ear to listen and could just about make out an echo of groans from the rest of the nation as we laid our eyes on this unwelcome news.

Regardless of who you support, this is bad news for everyone.

If you are a Manchester United fan you're not just faced with the prospect of losing arguably your best player. Worse than that, you are confronted with the looming certainty that this saga will run and run for at least the next 88 days.

And that is if we are all lucky. The fact is, any move is unlikely to smoothly go through on July 1.

Sir Alex Ferguson will cling to his most prized asset like a drunk to his can of Special Brew. If he does the unthinkable, and lets Ronaldo move to Madrid, he will make it as painful and protracted for them as possible.

As if the return of the woefully dull Ronaldo saga wasn't bad enough, there have been growing rumours about Cesc Fabregas' return to his boyhood team, Barcelona, this week.

In the words of Mary J Blige, "heard it all before."

Like Ronaldo, Fabregas is on a long term contract and is the jewel in the crown of his football club, and just like his Portuguese counterpart, Fabregas' future has been widely questioned.

I have reached the point where I dread the summer transfer window, but I thought I was at least safe until  the end of the season.

As if living in a country that sees no palpable change in the weather during our "summer" wasn't bad enough, waking up every morning to a fresh quote from Cristiano Ronaldo's pool cleaner saying he caught him booking an easyJet flight to Madrid makes matters worse.

The Fabregas episode has been going on even longer than the Ronaldo affair, with the media seemingly loath to believe that a young Spanish footballer could possibly be happy anywhere but Spain.

The need for a recurring saga is a by-product of the birth of the Premier League. To my mind it started with Alan Shearer and then moved on to Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira at Arsenal.

The first recurring nightmare involved Alan Shearer. During his time at Blackburn, and then even at Newcastle, the Geordie hero was continually linked with Manchester United. 

Every summer the stories circulated. Just like the Guardian's article today, some papers even claimed it was a done deal.

"Sir" Alan bitterly hated United and Ferguson and refused to contemplate playing for them, even at the expense of his trophy collection.

Next was Patrick Vieira. Just like Shearer, Vieira in his pomp was continually linked with Manchester United, despite the fact that the thought of him linking up with his arch nemesis Roy Keane was unthinkable.

If it wasn't Manchester United, it was Real Madrid circling Highbury like a menacing shark. Of course, in the end Arsene Wenger didn't lose his man until he was absolutely ready.

Then it was Thierry Henry who was linked with Barcelona, season after season. When he finally made the move in 2007, we hoped that we could rest easy and, if we were all very lucky, we might just hear a new transfer rumour.

Sadly that was not the case, and the media went hunting for a new protracted move they could rehash every single year.

Lo and behold, they found two.

I know that both these players bring a huge amount of talent, excitement, and class to the Premier League, but they also bring these tedious rumours.

For that reason alone, I am praying that Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger call press conferences on Monday morning and say that, yes, both have agreed moves to Spain.

There would doubtless be about a week of the media filling 90 percent of their sports pages with the possibilities and ramifications of these transfers, but after that they would have to find something new to report.

Sadly, that's not going to happen. Here's to the next 88 days and beyond.


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