It is apt that United has finally chosen to sell Cristiano Ronaldo on the back end of a season that was based on defensive solidity and depth of squad.
Sure, much has been made of Ronaldo's 42-goal haul which won him the Ballon d'Or, where he singlehandedly carried United through matches against the weaker teams in the EPL during a period where Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney were misfiring.
Ronaldo has been a consistent source of goals. Scoring 18 goals in the EPL when he missed out on preseason and was out for 12 weeks shows his quality.
However, if anything, season '08-09 was proof that even with the Portuguese star misfiring, United's squad depth and defensive solidity carried them through, and that the formula of relying on Ronaldo does not always work.
Before anyone jumps on my back, do know that I am a fan of CR7.
He's magical on the ball and seems to have cut out his diving tendencies. I have often argued against people saying that he doesn't turn up in big matches and always defended his whining on the field as a sign of passion and perfectionist mentality.
I am sad to see him go, and I think he will be a massive loss to both the EPL and United, but I don't see that United will be considerably weakened with his departure.
It makes perfect economical sense that Ronaldo goes now. You have a global economic crisis and large debts in the club, and suddenly there is an option to cash in on a £12 million buy, netting a £68 million profit.
Assume wages of £120,000/week for his entire stay in United—that's only a cost of £38 million. You see an overall £30 million profit that Ronaldo has brought to United, not including the money won from competitions.
People often say that it is stupid to sell your best player; that Ronaldo is an irreplaceable talent; that we should look past his diving antics and judge him by what he brings onto the field. I know, I was a strong advocate for that, but this season has shown that he isn't the most irreplaceable person.
After all, United has always recovered from losing their best players: Roy Keane, Ruud van Nistelrooy, David Beckham, Eric Cantona—the list could go on.
Thus, an £80 million deal is a great price, and for the first time I agree that it is Ronaldo's time to go. He has won everything to be won in the English league; now it is time for him to live his dream.
United will definitely miss him, but quality will be added. Many signings can be made with £80 million. Tevez can finally have a home (although he wants to leave), and names like Karim Benzema and Franck Ribery are touted as the incoming talents.
Whoever the replacement, do keep in mind that United have such a great squad, and his leaving won't have too much of an impact. It will just mean that other players will take more shots and not leave the bulk of the shooting to Ronaldo. The goals won't dry up.
Owen Hargreaves' return in the next season will feel like a new signing. The £80 million will be put to good use.
The future is bright, with our upcoming talents in Anderson, Zoran Tosic, Fabio, Rafael, Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck, and Darron Gibson.
United will collectively move on and go to greater heights.
And we shall applaud Ronaldo for his six great years of service and his many goals.
This article and more can also be found at thetipsters, a website set up by my friend Eddy and I.