Repeat: Off The Ball

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Repeat: Off The Ball

Ronaldo transfer reaction should not obscure moral issues | Harris

In the latest move of mega summer transfer signings, Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo h...

Ronaldo transfer reaction shou...

Ronaldo transfer reaction should not obscure moral issues | Harris

In the latest move of mega summer transfer signings, Portuguese international Cristiano Ronaldo has re-signed for Manchester United after leaving Italian giants Juventus. 

Now 36, Ronaldo left United for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009. During his first spell at Old Trafford, he scored 118 goals in 392 games.

Only 24 hours ago, it looked like Ronaldo was all but certain to sign Untied's rivals on the blue side of town – Manchester City. But as of Friday morning, it appeared that a deal to bring Ronaldo to City was off the cards.

Ronaldo Returns

United fans are already screaming and shouting about the grand return of their once starman coming back to Manchester. It is after all, very exciting.

Unlike the transfer of Messi to Paris Saint-Germain, there's an element of romance to Ronaldo's return. The once plucky 18-year-old kid from Madeira, who did far too many stepovers, gradually dazzled Premier League crowds and transformed from boyhood talent to complete global star.

In some aspects as well, it seems like a much-needed bit of swindling from a United perspective – given that the clubs around him have added muscle to their attacks. Jack Grealish to City or Romelu Lukaku to Chelsea are the obvious standouts.

All-out Attack

Speaking with OTB's Ger Gilroy, English journalist Daniel Harris spoke of how Ronaldo, once the student at United, can now become the mentor for United's array of aspiring attacking talent.

"If you are Jadon Sancho or Marcus Rashford, the idea that you are going to play with Ronaldo is an unbelievable boost. They want to train with him, they want to learn from him, they want to set up goals for him. I'd say the United squad are absolutely buzzing." says Harris.

On the downside, however, United already had far too many attacking players to begin with. From a point of pragmatism, adding Ronaldo to the equation might be giving manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer an even bigger headache.

Sporting greatness can't muddy right or wrong

While social media melts down over Ronaldo's return, the 'breaking news' mania of it all distorts a very sobering and darker side to the whole Ronaldo era. One, we can't ignore.

In 2019, Ronaldo was cleared of charges made against him concerning allegations of sexual misconduct made against him while on holiday in Las Vegas back in 2009. The trial was brought to light after an investigative report was published by German magazine Der Spiegel in 2017.

In light of Ronaldo's return plastering social media on Friday, Harris questioned how one 'welcomes' his return without 'compunction or query'? This tension of faculties makes the mind race, like a dizzying game of mental gymnastics.

Ronaldo is not the only sporting figure to have certain allegations made against him. While on air, Harris cited Olympic gold medalist and tennis player Alexander Zverev, as someone he had conflict watching and reporting on.

"As a writer, you never sure how often do I mention this," says Harris. "We can’t allow sport to obscure our moral clarity. But at the same time, I’m sitting there and I’m seeing Zverev play brilliantly,”

“It’s the same with Ronaldo. I know that we will be sitting here one morning and I will say how brilliant Ronaldo was over the weekend. But in the back of my mind and your mind, there will be this thing that you can’t simply forget,” Harris continued.

"You can't divorce sport from those things because sport is played by humans. Humans are messy and so sport is messy and life is messy. And it’s sad because it’s our job to ultimately try to unpick it in a way that we can love our teams, but also in a way that we don’t lose who we are and our sense of right and wrong." Harris concludes.

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