The news of Ronaldo returning to Manchester United shook what has been the most active transfer season in football in recent years.
Nobody would have envisioned Messi and Ramos playing together. It however became a reality when they both moved to PSG, for a price any team could afford if you win a lottery; a free transfer. Mbappe at the same time was pushing for a move to Real Madrid with the team bidding $180m, which was eventually rejected by PSG.
The news that topped it all was Ronaldo’s fairytale return to Manchester United. Within a few minutes after the official announcement, the Manchester United website crashed with traffic while the social media handles were blazing. Soon after the jersey sales were topping the charts while the aura around Old Trafford and the Manchester community around the world was all jubilant. This was a dream the Manchester fans had hoped for but never thought possible.
Man, were they right to be so cheerful. Ronaldo already has four goals in three games this season. This begs the question, should they be starting to put the champagne on ice waiting for trophy celebrations to come at the end of the season?
Manchester United trophy drought
Manchester United is one of the biggest clubs in world football. It has the highest number of premier league titles and the second-highest Champions league titles in England only after Liverpool. However, they seem to have lost their winning ways in recent times.
Manchester’s most recent trophy was in May 2017 after winning the Europa League with Jose Mourhino. Ever since they have come close to lifting a trophy only to end up disappointed. In the recent past, they have reached and lost four semi-finals; the Carabao Cup, FA, EFL and the Europa. While they managed to move a step further and get to the finals of the Europa League, they still lost to Seville, a team that finished 7th in La Liga.
Such losses and misses of opportunities have never been part of Manchester United’s legacy. The fans crave the joy of lifting trophies and keeping records as the best team in world football. Even worse is that their neighbours Manchester City, have become perennial winners in recent times. It is more like they have swapped places.
How best to get back to lifting trophies than through a known winner and a club legend.
Ronaldo is a known winner
Cristiano Ronaldo remains one of the most successful players in modern football. His only comparison is with the other world’s menace in the form of Messi, who remains within their own league as the world’s best footballers.
After leaving Manchester United in 2009, Ronaldo has built a reputation for being a winner. He has won an unprecedented four Champions League titles at Real Madrid, La Liga, Copa del Rey and multiple Ballon Dors. Later moving to Juventus, he won the league title and other trophies. He has also won the Euro title with the national team, Portugal.
In all of these wins, he was not only part of a team, but rather the main man. He has proven a player who never disappears when needed, instead, he rises to the occasion and helps the team, while literally giving the tears, sweat and blood. The multiple individual awards tell it all.
Combining desire and legacy
Manchester United’s only desire at the moment is to go back to the top, where they believe they belong. There’s nobody else to take them to the summit than the proven winner. From time to time, the team has shown they can have great winning runs. Last season in particular was a time the team showed capability when they finished second on the league standings. There were times when they were top of the league and the football world was buzzing.
While Ronaldo cannot win it himself for the team, he will play a crucial role. He has proven to improve those around him. There’s that confidence that comes when players understand the best player in their team. The more confident a team is, the more wins they can rake.
From the first few games, Manchester had everything to go to that one last step. The Paul Pogba that Manchester United fans have longed to see seems to be present. Even though touted as world-class, Pogba rarely gives consistent top performances in a United shirt, as he does for France. However, with seven assists from four games so far, he might have just discovered his club form. Bruno Fernandez remains one of the best transfers in the team’s recent period. August’s player of the month, Mason Greenwood, seems to never stop scoring. Harry Maguire, Fred and De Gea all seem reborn. The team has also added Varane and Sancho to their ranks, while they still have top players like Rashford and Cavani.
While May might seem a long way to come, Manchester United fans can dream a little more. Not that it will be any easy. Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City still have teams who can win anything. Having Ronaldo however gives the United side an edge.
Do you believe Ronald gives Manchester that edge they have lacked in recent times?
Football fans slam rail services after complaints of no derby day trains from London to Manchester
With derby day approaching, Manchester United and City fans are making their arrangements big fixture and while local Mancunians should be fine, people travelling from elsewhere look to be in a bit of bother.
More specifically, United and City fans living in London (yes, we know the joke) will have some trouble making their way up for the game if they’re travelling by public transport due to the ongoing rail strikes.
Sports writer Barney Ronay shared an exasperated tweet explaining how there are seemingly “no trains to Manchester from London for City v United this Sunday”, arguing that the overall “fan experience is so terrible now some are having to give up”.
He goes on to identify this as symptomatic of the “horrendous state of infrastructure killing away days” and even went so far as to diagnose the modern matchday as almost “masochistic”.
Plenty of fans who travel to see their respective clubs echoed his thoughts, commenting that the regular drama of “changed dates/hotels not refunding etc it is becoming too expensive for many” and that even outside of reasonable strike action, matchday services are difficult to plan around.
It is severely affecting away days. Supporting Altrincham in the National League, 14 clubs in the South. No trains due to industrial action is fair enough but outside of that its still really hard work to sort out & not financially viable for many to buy walk up off peak tickets.
Many of those commenting on the thread also clarified that despite tickets being displayed as ‘sold out’ or ‘unavailable’ online, this often isn’t true and it’s more a case of there being no seats left to reserve.
However, just as many were quick to respond that this offers little help to those who need to have a reliable plan for commuting back and forth, even more so when it comes to midweek games or those scheduled on a Sunday like this week’s Manchester derby.
Moreover, others rightly noted that very few people are in a financial position where they are able to buy an expensive face-value ticket on the day on the half-chance they might be able to squeeze onto a packed train and stand for more than two hours.
As was to be expected, plenty of people also took to ridiculing the tweet and the two clubs, advising to simply “support your local team” and so on. It was also pointed out that a United fan travelling to the match from London, for instance, isn’t exactly what most fans would dub an ‘away day’.
Nevertheless, even those travelling on ‘proper’ away days couldn’t help but agree with the overarching point, with many citing that they regularly spend upwards of £100-150 just getting to their destination.
Any travelling football fan will know – especially those coming to and from London – it’s an expensive habit this football lark and even after you make it to wherever the game is that day, you’re still forking out more for food, drink and perhaps even additional transport to the ground.
Beyond those strictly hoping to catch the Manchester derby, most seem to agree with the strikes and suggested that more needs to be done to combat “the government’s assault on living standards, terms and conditions, pensions” which are subsequently impacting matchday travel year-round.
Premier League players set to receive another £240,000 a year following tax cuts
In more news that’s sure to ruin your week, Premier League players are reportedly set to receive £240,000 more a year in wages following the recent raft of tax cuts announced.
The announcement comes following fledgling chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s mini-budget revealed on Friday, 23 September, which saw cuts on everything from corporation tax to bankers’ bonuses and more.
As part of the economic adjustment which was designed to address the growing cost of living crisis, it would appear that many of the wealthiest currently living in the UK will be the first to reap the benefits of the new policy — multi-millionaire footballers being one such group.
First broke by the Times, the newly adjusted figures project that Premier League players will be receiving just under a cool quarter of a million in additional funds on average, namely thanks to the government revisions on income tax and national insurance.
More specifically, the outlet explains that the highest tax bracket for those earning over £150,000 per annum is now moving from 45% down to 40%, with many of the UK’s players obviously already on astronomical contracts.
Sitting as one of the Prem’s highest earners, Ronaldo currently nets an annual salary of just over £26.5m a year. As Maguire goes on to comment: “I’m not party political but it seems to be inconsistent with the Government’s levelling-up agenda.” He already makes more than enough for 10 lifetimes.
Not only does he point out that this kind of money could be put to much greater use by spreading it out across, say, the likes of football clubs’ service staff – averaging around £1,300 extra for around 1,000 staff members – but it hardly makes you want to go and cheer them on at the weekend, does it?
For further context, Manchester City’s star midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is said to earn around £400k a week and new boy Erling Halaand arrived at the club on a £375k-a-week contract.
While we don’t have the exact numbers per player – nor do we want to know, really – they are among dozens of others on £150,000+ a week who will now be taking home even more than usual following these tax cuts.
Circling back to the Times, they estimate that the average top-flight player earns in the region of £4m a year, paying around a grand total of around £1.4billion in tax; that figure will soon drop by a full £70m when the changes become law.
Not just life-changing amounts – enough to help genuinely fix socio-economic issues on a national scale.