No Player Is Bigger Than The Club: Forget Ronaldo, Viva Wayne Rooney!

Art BraumenContributor IJune 27, 2009

I want to end this complete absurdity making the rounds across the Internet and in particular, on this website.

I'm ashamed at how respected columnists from important newspapers grabbed on for dear life to the last remaining days of the deal, double checking to see if there was any chance of splashing another Ronaldo headline across the back pages in an effort to sell issues.

Everybody just needs to calm down. I want you to revert back to this article come next May and realize that the impending apocalyptic day of judgement just didn't happen—although many crave for that scenario. 

I recently watched an interview with a fan and his attitude was all doom and gloom.

His post-Ronaldo description made me laugh most of all, to the point of semi-convincing me that this whole charade was an outrageous prank to frustrate us—so much so I had to double check if it wasn't April 1st.

The fan said, "This game is all about scoring goals - and United just aren't going to score as many next year."

Well, funny enough, I'd have him know, Manchester United scored 68 goals last season, one of the clubs worst totals for a long time. In the '99 treble season they scored 97!

The reason United managed to score so little last season was actually partly Ronaldo's fault. He took the most shots out of any player (I believe it was 115) and had the most off target. He also takes all of the penalties and all of the free kicks, which is obviously going to bolster his number of goals.

He made six assists last season, which for a winger is disgraceful. In the '99 season (sorry to mention it again), Beckham made 23 assists!

My point is, I'm convinced that everybody has been brainwashed and fooled into thinking that Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be replaced.

United needs to take the ludicrous amount of money that they've received for his services—regardless whether or not any player should cost that much—and buy a good, strong right winger. The player should have pace and the ability to put the ball into the box consistently, instead of messing around with fancy tricks that get nowhere.

If they do this, just watch how many goals Berbatov and Rooney score next season.

Manchester United will be strong without Ronaldo because Wayne Rooney will finally play in his rightful position. He looked like a duck out of water in the Champions League final, but that's because Alex Ferguson got it wrong on the day.

Next season, he will be central in influence and positioning to their Premier League and Champions League ambitions. Still only 23, yet growing in stature by the year, Rooney hurtles towards a new season which could end up belonging to him.

Although naturally espousing an approach to the limelight that is more Paul Scholes' than Ronaldo's, Rooney will find the arc-lights of national interest increasingly picking out his every stride across footballing stages—at home and abroad, at Old Trafford and South Africa.

The antithesis of egotism, United's No. 10 does not chase the icon status that could yet be conferred on him in the next 13 months.

In fact, Rooney probably thinks Paris Hilton is where Patrice Evra takes his family on holiday. His discipline is improving on the pitch, as seen in only 12 fouls and two cautions in 13 Champions League games last season.

Rooney's maturation is reflected off the field. Early fears about his lifestyle, about heading down the Gazza path, have proven unfounded. As a personality, he seems remarkably down to earth, leaving premieres and "It-girls" to the likes of Ronaldo.

Wayne Rooney is every bit the professional.

There had been a general tiring with Ronaldo's antics, following the flirtation with Madrid last year and certain tracksuit-chucking stunts this year. And since the previous summer's shenanigans, people have adapted the thought that "we better include him or he'll sulk."

Fergie know's when a player is unsettled and the kind of negative influence they have on the dressing room. Manchester United is a machine. No matter how much pressure is applied, the team just seems to get better, and will continue to do so even after this.

There's no chance of them throwing the title away next season before a ball has even been kicked. They've lost two big players, but come on, in all honesty—was United really a two man team last year?

No club or supporter will tolerate that nonsense from any journalist, regardless of how talented or respected they are. The ethos of Manchester United will be stronger without Ronaldo. The show-man has gone, but the show goes on.

If United can just get Dimitar Berbatov tucked in to work as he did with Robbie Keane at Spurs, then that's half the battle.

Of course, there are concerns as to what the tactics and players they would need to accommodate that. But the good few Internet forums that are informed and knowledgeable about football are suggesting that 'this is Rooney's moment'—and I agree.

Tevez scored five league goals last season—that's not a striker's contribution!

Many will say he wasn't played that often, but the statistics are crystal clear. He played more minutes than Berbatov, Rooney and Ronaldo. It's the end of an era, but there is always life after, as countless quality players have come and gone at United.

My interests lay in who will be next to receive the infamous #7 shirt.

It's a prized piece of history, as the wearers have always struck the question, "How can they be replaced after their departure?"—Georgie Best, Bryan Robson, Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo.

I'm absolutely convinced that Alex Ferguson knows what he's doing. He's the best in the world—that's why he is at Manchester United, so people need to get behind him and the team.

No player is bigger than the club. Messi is not bigger than Barcelona and Ronaldo was certainly not bigger than Manchester United.

Viva Rooney. Roll on next season.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.