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.

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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.

Manchester United beats Real Madrid 3-1 in Record US Game

real-madrid-manchester-united-michiganAs if the enthusiasm behind USA in the 2014 World Cup wasn’t proof enough, a record match between Real Madrid and Manchester United is further proof that soccer is growing in America. The preseason friendly, which was held at Michigan University Stadium in Ann Arbor, drew 109,318 fans – an attendance record for a soccer match in the US. The previous record was set by the 1984 Olympic gold medal game between Brazil and France at the Rose Bowl, when 101,799 fans showed up to Pasadena, CA.

As for the result, Manchester United finished off a perfect run through International Champions Cup pool play by beating Real Madrid 3-1. They’ll now play in the ICC final on Monday in Miami, while Real Madrid, last year’s ICC winner, is going home with a disappointing 0-2-1 record.

Manchester United definitely came out with plenty of fire for a preseason friendly. Midfielder Ashley Young quickly scored a goal thanks to an assist from Danny Welbeck. Real Madrid was able to tie things up on a penalty kick to make the score 1-1. However, this was as close as they’d get since Young added his second goal in the 36th minute. He tried sending a cross to Wayne Rooney in the middle, ultimately missing his target, but finding the inside of the right goal post instead.

real-madrid-manchester-united-michigan-2Javier Hernandez added a third goal in the second half after an outstanding play. Shinji Kagawa sent him a deep pass, and Hernandez slid feet first, heading the ball into the goal while at an awkward angle.

Gareth Bale played a big part in Real Madrid’s attack. He had some good shots on goal and ultimately converted on the aforementioned penalty kick, which would be his side’s only score. Overall, Real Madrid looked pretty good in the second half after sending multiple shots at the goal early on. Man U goalkeeper David De Gea even had to make a diving save on Asier Illarramendi’s shot in the first minute of the second half. But like so many Real Madrid shots throughout the afternoon, Illarramendi’s attempt was kept out of the net by De Gea.

It was largely thought that Cristiano Ronaldo wouldn’t play at all in this match. After all, Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti ruled the star out due to a left knee injury that he suffered during the World Cup. But much to the fans’ surprise and delight, Ronaldo entered the match at the 72-minute mark. This substitution actually drew the loudest cheers of the game.

real-madrid-manchester-united-michigan-1Moving forward, Manchester United figures to be a feared team when the English Premier League rolls around. They had a down season last year after finishing 19-12-7 (W-L-D) and missing out on Europa League qualification. However, they’re back with a new manager in Louis van Gaal and a fresh outlook. So don’t sleep on Manchester United with regard to English Premier League betting.

As for Real Madrid, they looked a bit shaky at times during ICC pool play. However, nobody’s counting them out since they won the 2014 UEFA Champions League Final after beating Atlético Madrid. Assuming this momentum continues and Ronaldo can get completely healthy, Real Madrid will definitely be a team to watch in La Liga betting.