Not since Manchester United purportedly sent Real Madrid a fax asking just £25m for David Beckham has a player been as undervalued as Los Blancos’ former Red Devil Cristiano Ronaldo, according to Spanish newspaper Sport at least.
The Barcelona-based journos have cooked up the nice round figure of €60m for Ronaldo’s services, suggesting the 31-year-old will be eased out of the Bernabeu this summer for a big final payday with just two years left on his contract.
Madrid might want a few more quid than that for a player with more goals than appearances for the club, especially seeing as Ronaldo is still scoring at an astonishing rate of 42 in 40 games so far this term.
However, if they were to sell at what converts to around £48m in the Queen’s money, United would be forgiven for wanting to get some of that wasted Beckham dividend back courtesy of another old boy.
First off, the combination of CR7 reuniting with Man Utd is a marketing dream, with shirts, boots and bodywashes bearing his motif bound to fly off the shelves once more.
Incidentally, Ronaldo’s return might solve the problem of struggling skipper Wayne Rooney. The England captain is currently the club’s face in developing markets, prompting United to reject a massive bid from China for his services in January, according to numerous reports.
Might they be tempted to cash in on Rooney if they acquire the perfect replacement? They just might.
In footballing terms, it’s even less of a no brainer because of what £48m buys these days. For that to be brought into sharp focus you need only look at United’s ‘Noisy Neighbours’ Manchester City.
Raheem Sterling may be a decade younger than the Portuguese, but that’s as good as the comparison gets. The former Liverpool man has bagged just over a quarter of Ronaldo’s goals this season, despite making two more appearances. He cost £49m.
Many believe the 21-year-old will develop into a clinical forward, others say there’s something fundamentally wrong with the way Sterling strikes the ball. Few will argue he was value for money.
Another cautionary tale from the Etihad comes by way of Wilfried Bony, a striker less than four years younger than Ronaldo who cost City an eye-watering £28m two Januarys ago. The Ivorian has scored ten times in 40 matches since, giving him practically the same strike-rate as Sterling.
Would you swap Bony and, say, £32m centre-half Eliaquim Mangala for Ronaldo?
Of course you would.