Date: 7th July 2008 at 6:55pm
Written by:

Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Queiroz could both leave Manchester United – but which one’s departure is the bigger blow.

Let’s look at the facts. Cristiano Ronaldo scored 65 goals over the past two seasons which is fantastic if you’re a centre-forward and gigantic, incredible, enormous if you are a winger which he is.

His contribution to our cause cannot be overstated yet the games he’s been playing in the media for a while now alienated the United fans who now look upon him with little respect; indeed, some of us consider him little more than an ungrateful traitor.

He could leave for Real Madrid even though it’s very difficult to read between the lines of Ramon Calderon’s occasional comments which usually contradict the previous one… His latest one is so arrogant, talking about how United should be proud of the prospect of this transfer, that I hardly believed it. Yet he was right in one thing: we could make the biggest transfer in history.

Now, on to Carlos Queiroz, especially as the subject of Ronaldo had been done to death before. The assistant arrived in 2002, and many thought for a long time that he was only ‘spouting gobbledegook disguised as continental sophistication’ (by Rob Smyth of the Guardian).

Few were sorry to see the back of him when he decided to try himself at Real Madrid and almost everyone was baffled that Fergie welcomed him back with open arms when his sole season turned into a total failure despite having an 8-point lead at one stage.

Queiroz was blamed for Fergie’s tinkering with formations (by myself and many others) and our often frustrating negativity in Europe. Yet as things improved, Queiroz, naturally, was given more and more credit. Persuading Ronaldo to stay in 2006 was in no small part down to him, according to many and securing the services of Nani and Anderson was possible only via his contacts.

The much-maligned, cursed 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 finally worked and United’s incredible steel was evident throughout the European campaign as it was bloody difficult to score against us and our matchwinners – especially Ronaldo, of course – could always be relied upon making the most of their chances. And thus was continental glory achieved.

Now reports suggest that Queiroz is tempted by the chance of taking over the reins of the Portuguese national team which is only natural in my opinion. He’s Portuguese and it’s not certain that such a chance will come up ever again – and a strong performance with Portugal increases his chances of landing Fergie’s job once the boss retires and he never made a secret of his desire to manage United one day.

So, which would you choose? Short-term impact on the pitch, another couple of seasons full of sparkling wing play and a fantastic array of goals? Or you’re more eager for long-term influence off the pitch, continuity in the management which has always been a cornerstone of United’s success? These are the alternatives, I believe though of course we are not in a position to choose and of course it’s not entirely impossible that both will stay in the end.