CR7: The Man, the Machine, the Dream, and the Money...

Saif Syed OmarCorrespondent IJune 11, 2009

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 16:  Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United celebrates as the final whistle is blown and his side clinch the Premier League title at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford on May 16, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Waking up on a rainy Thursday morning, I was cheerful despite the rain because it was soccer day at school. With eyes not exactly wide open I was still getting the early morning blues when I was struck by lightening surfing through the morning news on my laptop.

It was the news that every United fan had been dreading for days, probably for a couple of years now. It became official: After six eventful seasons with the Red Devils, CR7 will be gone come August.


The Man...

Cristiano Ronaldo dos Santos Aveiro was born on Feb. 5, 1985 in Funchal, Madeira, the youngest child of Maria Dolores dos Santos Aveiro and José Dinis Aveiro.

After stints with local clubs, he went on to join Sporting Lisbon, a well-known Portuguese football club. There he was spotted by Manchester United who signed him for an amount believed to be about $20 million.

At United, Cristiano was molded into the player he is by the evergreen Sir Alex Ferguson with the help of Coach Carlos Queiroz. Often criticised for his on-field antics, Cristiano has been the poster boy of the media and the whipping boy of most English fans.


The Machine...

Under the guidance of SAF, he went from a boy with a box of tricks to the silky, mean, goal scoring machine. He has the record of most number of goals by a winger in the English League in a season.

He was painstakingly groomed to make him the player he is today. He was seen as the successor to David Beckham on the wing after the latter was forced out after a bust up with SAF.

After a mediocre first two seasons, Ronaldo burst into the limelight after a World Cup bust up with club teammate Wayne Rooney. Only this time, he returned a man determined to deliver.

Despite the constant booing from English fans, he delivered on the pitch each time when his team needed him. He was pivotal in United ending their barren run and winning their first league title in four years in 2006-07.

He has been United's top goal scorer ever since, despite playing a wide role during most of this period. He was also a crucial figure in United, winning their third Champions League title in Moscow last year and scoring the opening goal of the encounter.


The Dream...

Once upon a time, there was a little girl in a small town. As a child, she had a dream of becoming the best singer in her town and becoming the Queen of the place she lived when she grew up. Time went on and she grew up to be a beautiful girl with an even more beautiful voice.

She was spotted by the visiting Prince of the neighboring kingdom. The Prince was so charmed by her voice and beauty that he decided to take her home to his kingdom. There, everyone was bedazzled by her voice and she became the people's favorite.

The prince of the neighboring country wanted to marry her now and make her the future Queen. She resisted his advances but said she would stay—because her dream was still alive. She went on from strength to strength winning everyone's heart and accolades for that kingdom.

Finally, a point came when there was nothing left to prove and nothing left to win. At that point, the Prince of her dreams came. She decided to leave, the prince she had been with all these years and his kingdom, for her hometown and her Prince. She left a void, but the people still loved her for what she was. She will always be remembered...

Cristiano had often spoken about his dream to play for Real Madrid—a team he had loved as a child. The dream has often been used as a springboard by Real to lure him away from United.

It is this $130 million dream that has been a cause for discontent between the two clubs.

United bravely fended off previous approaches by Real as they struggled to hold on to their most prized asset. United finally decided to bow to pressure after the player himself requested a transfer.


The Money...

For United, the offer makes perfect business sense, though his value of his goal scoring exploits and match winning quality are difficult to be gauged. At $130 million, United have seen a return of more than $100 million on their investment. 

However, in Cristiano, United will lose close to 30 goals a season, a few more assists, and a match winner who could turn games on its head. Besides, the revenues lost through the brand, CR7 will be yet another stumbling block.

Whether this was a wise move or not, only time will tell, but there was little United could do against the player's wishes.


The Future...

For Cristiano, the future poses a new challenge, a new environment. But there will be lots to prove, given the big price tag attached to his move and him being branded as the best in the world.

For United, it will be a time to rebuild and regroup. It is hard to imagine how one player's exit can have such an impact on a club that has just done a hat-trick of league titles and has been a Champions League finalist on the trot. Such has been the effect of Ronaldo on United in the past few seasons.

After the exit of Ruud van Nistlerooy, Ronaldo has single-handedly taken up the goal scoring mantle on his shoulders. His goals and skill will be hard to replace, at least in such a short span.

Luckily for United, SAF is still around, though for not very long. United will have to spend the huge transfer fee they get for Ronaldo well. It is also time for the likes of Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov to take up the goal scoring responsibility.

This is a vicious cycle; stars will be born, and they will be lost. All that will be left is the club. Nobody will ever be greater than the club. Ronaldo's contribution to the club has been invaluable. He might not have become a legend but he will always be a star.

He will be remembered, long after he's gone. Viva Ronaldo!!!