Would Real Madrid really trade Ronaldo?

Cristiano RonaldoAlong with Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo always enters into conversations involving who the world’s best footballer is. But does that make him indispensable in the eyes of Real Madrid? Maybe not, as a recent report suggests.

Despite currently leading the La Liga standings with 57 points, Real Madrid is starting to get a little disgruntled with their star player. First off, team management and fans were annoyed when Ronaldo threw himself a big 30th birthday party following an embarrassing 4-0 loss to rival Atletico Madrid. This prompted fans to show up to the team’s next practice with chants of “more balls, less parties.”

Real Madrid also isn’t happy about the lack of production that Ronaldo has given after coming off a two-game suspension for a red card.

Now, Sport-English.com claims that Florentino Perez, Real Madrid’s president, could be looking to cash in on Ronaldo while he’s still at an elite level. This seems quite strange when you consider the Portuguese star’s overall talent along with the fact that, as recently as December, Perez called Ronaldo the “world’s best player.”

However, it should also be pointed out that Perez had had no trouble selling off other team stars like Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil and Xabi Alonso – all of whom seemed like they were totally safe due to their contributions.

But while these three players were great for Real Madrid, Ronaldo still remains on a different level. Even this year, after struggling in the 2014 World Cup due to a bad knee injury, the 30-year-old has defied logic with some of his incredible plays. So on some level, it still seems like this report can be cast off as mere gossip.


Then again, if Perez wants to recoup a good portion of the $123 million transfer fee that he paid for Ronaldo in 2009, now is the time. This is especially the case when one considers that Manchester United, the team that originally sold Ronaldo for this then-record amount, might be willing to buy him back.

A deal of this magnitude could also work because Real Madrid would love to have United goalkeeper David De Gea back in Spain. It’s no secret that they’d like to find a successor to goalie Iker Casillas, and De Gea could be exactly that.

But if any potential deal is on the horizon, one definitely won’t hear about it from Ronaldo himself. The striker has been pretty quiet about the whole matter heading into this week. We also can’t expect any info out of Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti, who’s only had good things to say about his star.

“Among the squad, he’s a leader, he talks to all the members of the squad, especially the younger players, he’s an important part of the squad as are Pepe, Sergio Ramos, Casillas and Marcelo,” Ancelotti said. “If he keeps faithful with the passion he has, his career can continue for some time due to his optimum physical condition.”

Unfortunately for Ancelotti, he doesn’t have the final say on roster moves, as Perez has shown plenty of times in the past. Getting rid of Ozil (to make way for Gareth Bale) and dumping Di Maria (for James Rodriguez) are perfect examples of this.

Soccer’s SD Eibar crashing Spanish La Liga Party

sd-eibarWhile Spanish La Liga features some of the top talent in the soccer world, the league has become somewhat stale and predictable. It seems like every year the La Liga title is passed between the two giants – Barcelona and Real Madrid (although Atletico Madrid won last year). This is like a more-extreme version of Major League Baseball, where it’s not uncommon to see either the New York Yankees or Boston Red Sox win the World Series. But this year, all eyes will be on a true underdog in the SD Eibar “Gunners.”

If you’re not familiar with the typical European soccer league format, teams can move up or down in divisions based on their performance from previous years. Calling on baseball again, this would be like the Triple A Toldeo Mud Hens winning a spot in the MLB. Only, SD Eibar is on an even smaller scale, having been in the confines of the second division from 1986 until last year. But after playing out of their minds, this team earned the right to move up to La Liga play.

Hailing from the small town of Eibar (pop. 27,507), the Gunners will now have an opportunity to take on the likes of Real Madrid in giant, sold-out stadiums. This is quite a step up when you consider that the Gunners’ own stadium holds just 5,200 fans. And this stadium is where SD Eibar grabbed their first-ever La Liga victory – a 1-0 triumph over Real Sociedad.

sd-eibar-1Make no mistake about it, this team has the talent to compete. They knocked off second-division rival Alavés last year with a number of good athletes who can run the field and pull off some spectacular plays. But even though they are good enough, SD Eibar faced another huge challenge to enter La Liga – raise €1.7 million ($2.2 million) by early August.

This rule was imposed by the Spanish Football Association, which requires any La Liga team to at least have capital equal to 25% of the average expenses of second-division teams. To Barcelona or Real Madrid, which both spent over $190 million on players alone last season, this amount is a joke. But to SD Eibar, this required a serious fund-raising effort.

Like the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, they sold shares in the team that were capped at $100,000. Manchester City players David Silva and Xabi Alonso, who are former Eibar members, helped raise money too. With these efforts, the team easily hit its funding mark by early July.

Now officially a member of La Liga and boasting a 1-0 record, SD Eibar will certainly draw fanfare from all over the world. After all, they are the unlikeliest of teams to be playing against talent-rich squads like Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. And they still have 37 matches left to keep proving that they belong with the big boys.