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Ferguson’s biggest challenge yet

Discussion in 'Sports' started by ByaseL, Jul 13, 2009.

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    ByaseL JF-Expert Member

    Jul 13, 2009
    Joined: Nov 22, 2007
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    By Allan Ssekamate

    Cristiano Ronaldo’s mega-bucks move to Real Madrid has hurt Manchester United in more ways than one. His departure, along with Carlos Tevez presents Sir Alex Ferguson with his biggest rebuilding headache since he catastrophically splashed on David Bellion, Eric Djemba Djemba, Kleberson, Alan Smith and Liam Miller.

    From a purely sporting viewpoint, you simply do not sell your best player for whatever sum to a team that has just overtaken your own in the unofficial race to be the world’s biggest club. Ronaldo has been the key to United winning three consecutive Premier League titles and the Champions League. In that respect, he is unequaled in the modern era. I have heard the argument that he had outlived his usefulness to the club and had become a pain to manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

    I buy this line of thought more than the one in which fans are claiming that since Fergie replaced Eric Cantona, Andrei Kanchelskis, Bryan Robson, Dwight Yorke, David Beckham and Ruud Van Nistelrooy, he can also replace Cristiano with a new gem. It won’t be easy. Ronaldo is much younger than all of them were at the time they were offloaded by Sir Alex. He hasn’t even peaked and should play his best football in the next two-three years.

    The less said about Beckham the better, but van Nistelrooy did not have as much impact as Ronaldo despite matching his goal-scoring feats. Because Ronaldo is younger, more mobile and blessed with superior talent, he is going to be harder to replace. His arrival at United signaled a change in attacking philosophy from the 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 and the dividends have been enormous.

    As a matter of fact, Ronaldo and Tevez have been United’s highest scoring players in the last two seasons. Manchester United may be record champions, but they have been sending wobbly signals to their financial backers and fans this summer.

    You simply do not lose your two net-busting wizards without as much as a replacement. We can never know what is on Fergie’s mind. Perhaps he is counting on Dimitar Berbatov to come good this season or he has gotten complacent.

    He certainly bluffed when he unveiled Antonio Valencia on the same day Real unveiled former World Player of the Year Kaka. Days later Karim Benzema went to Real for less money than United had offered after Fergie had earmarked him as part of his rebuilding efforts. And just when you thought it could not get worse, the bombshell – He parades soccer dinosaur Michael Owen and Gabriel you-would-never-believe-it Obertan at about the same time Real were unveiling Ronaldo.

    Now the disclaimer. We have seen Ferguson rebuild sides and shame opponents before and he could do it again especially in the Premiership. Title rivals Liverpool and Chelsea have not strengthened with the single-mindedness of teams ready to wrest the title for Manchester. Liverpool is shocking. In all likelihood, Xabi Alonso and Xavier Mascherano will find their way into Spain, yet there are no visible replacements in sight.

    Their only signing so far has been Glen Johnson, a player who couldn’t make the grade at Chelsea. The Blues themselves are making the right noises and have bagged Yuri Zhirkov, but haven’t yet got any of their three principal targets - Frank Ribery, Alexandre Pato or Carlos Tevez.
    So there is all to play for, though you have to admit impulsive punter Sir Alex has made one hell of a gamble. He certainly cannot win the Champions League with such players.