Cristiano Ronaldo Will Flourish Further Should Angel Di Maria Leave Real Madrid

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2014

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, right, celebrates his goal with his fellow teammate Angel Di Maria of Argentina during their Spanish Copa del Rey round-16 second leg soccer match between Osasuna and Real Madrid at El Sadar stadium, in Pamplona, northern Spain, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)
Alvaro Barrientos/Associated Press

Angel di Maria's imminent move to Manchester United will be seen as a negative turn for many of those at the Bernabeu, but soon-to-be former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo can benefit from the departure.

According to Sky Sports' Guillem Balague, the Argentine will move to Old Trafford in the opposite direction to the deal that took Ronaldo to Spain in 2009 for a British-record transfer fee:

At long last there is significant movement in the seemingly never ending, ‘will he stay or will he go’ saga of Angel Di Maria. It now looks certain that he will leave Real Madrid and become a Manchester United player. The final meetings will take place at the beginning of next week. United will pay between 60-70 million euros (£48-55m) for the player. More than 60. A great deal for Madrid.

Los Merengues stand to gain more than mere finance from the move, which could ensure the spotlight remains firmly on a player who needs it in order to operate at his most fluid.

Alastair Grant/Associated Press

Right now, Real Madrid are the champions of Europe and could rightly have sought to be busier thus far in their summer transfer business, but James Rodriguez and Toni Kroos remain the biggest talking points in a window that's been about quality, not quantity.

It works in Ronaldo's favour, for those two are still supplemental assets in the big picture; neither has been brought in to eclipse Ronaldo, but rather to encourage even more from the jewel in Ancelotti's line-up.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

At least not yet. The 2014 World Cup showed what Rodriguez is capable of, and one day he may fill Ronaldo's boots as Los Blancos' spearhead, but the main responsibilities remain with the Portuguese at present.

Di Maria had the power to be more. Enjoying the best form of his life, The National's Andy Mitten pointed out just how much Madridistas wanted their attacker to stay, such was the strength of his current form:

By taking that ingredient out of the equation, Real are left with a more simplified formula, leaving the likes of Rodriguez, Kroos, Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Isco, Jese and others to work to Ronaldo's strongest suits.

The most apt adage here is that too many cooks spoil the broth, and with Rodriguez's arrival, fitting players into the team at their optimal position was becoming an increasing burden.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

Granted, Di Maria had adapted well to a more central role last season, but with ample alternatives around and the opportunity to turn a profit rearing its head, the logic in his sale is sound.

Last season saw Di Maria create 90 chances and score four goals in 34 league appearances, per Squawka, with the Football Front attesting to his effectiveness as a playmaker:

In contrast, Ronaldo was very much the club's end product, scoring 31 goals but constructing only 47 opportunities. This is compared to the 34 goals and 62 created chances recorded in 2012-13, when Di Maria wasn't as prominent a Real Madrid figure.

Small margins, perhaps, but the margins by which seasons can nevertheless be decided, and Ancelotti won't necessarily care who the individuals propelling his side to silverware are, just as long as the end destination is the same.

Ronaldo needs no validating as a superstar presence capable of leading an entire team, and no matter what recent history might dictate, Di Maria simply isn't as assured a quantity. 

Should Di Maria's move to United go through as expected, it will largely be business as usual, merely with a change in personnelBenzema the man up front, with Bale and Ronaldo providing extremely rounded assaults along with new arrival Rodriguez. 

Ancelotti then has a host of names to tinker with in the meantime, and if we're honest, a trio of Kroos, Luka Modric and Xabi Alonso isn't a bad settlement, with the likes of Isco and Sami Khedira joining in, assuming the latter remains in Madrid.

Ronaldo is most certainly capable of thriving in any circumstance, team or formation. It's just his nature. However, that doesn't mean things can't be engineered to squeeze the most out of him.

Daniel Ochoa de Olza/Associated Press

At 29 years of age, now is the time when Real should be doing their utmost to ensure that remains the case for the remainder of his time at the club, and Di Maria's presence may have gleaned away from his ability.

As previously mentioned, it may have only affected his impact by the smallest of margins, but it was an avoidable sacrifice all the same, one that can work in favour of the club's real driving force.