All the twists, all of the turns...yet have we really had time to sum up the saga in general? It's time to unravel all of the push and pull factors, the whole sense of the ongoing Cristiano Ronaldo saga. Will he stay at Manchester United or go to Real Madrid? As soon as I tie up all of the ends, we can draw up a sizable conclusion.
First off, let's get the footballing side of it out of the way. If it were for pure footballing reasons, he would stay. The fact is he could win a lot more at Unied than he could at Real.
He could win up to five trophies at United every season, the Premiership, the League Cup, the FA Cup, the Champions League and the Community Shield. In fact, they have a great chance of doing it this season. At Real, it could only be three or four.
But, he could put so much transfer budget in the kitty for United if he did go off to Madrid. The amount he could go for, around £70 million, could give United plentiful funds, about £100 million from existing funds, to sign a replacement plus a striker and maybe one or two others if they think they needed it.
Then let's get to the personal reasons. Ronaldo's been all over the place with whether he would go to Real or stay at United. Last year he signed a new five-year deal with United, professing his loyalty to stay until 2012.
But in the last few months he has declared that it would be his dream to play for Real Madrid.
Once he said: "Where I will be next season...only God knows."
With mixed statements such as these, it's impossible to know where he'll end up.
Various luminaries of football have expressed their opinions. People like David Beckham, Pele, Arsene Wenger, and Rio Ferdinand have told Ronaldo that he'd do best if he stays at United. Others like Fabio Cannavaro, Zinedine Zidane, and even Sepp Blatter, have told Ronaldo he should move to Real.
But in other terms, Real have been totally unsporting about this saga. Courting Ronaldo in public has been totally pathetic, making sure to unsettle the player so it would be easier to nab him.
United were right to report them to UEFA because it was out of proportion. The fact that Real avoided punishment still puzzles me.
But then there's the player himself. If Ronaldo wanted to leave, then it'd be wrong of United to keep him against his will. It'd mean he wouldn't be able to give his best because he would not be playing at the club he wants. It'd be sheer cruelty.
So, all factors here and examined, should he stay or should he go?
Well, it's still pretty blurry in terms of the eventual outcome. I for one cannot reach a certain conclusion about it. Let's hope that this saga does not leave a bigger stain as it already has done on World football.