This week, rumours emerged that Manchester United were set to sign Everton’s Romelu Lukaku. The Belgian striker has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park for some time now, but this rumour is the most surprising yet.
The transfer news is a story that has been making the rounds this week. It’s breaking down the most surprising transfer rumour of 2018 so far.
Athletes benefit from social media since it enables them to communicate directly to the public. There were no filters, no club press officials, no sponsor public relations representatives, and no misquotes. All they have is their voice, their chosen words, and the chance to explain and correct. Someone should have warned Cristiano Ronaldo’s social media staff, since despite the fact that his Instagram post on Tuesday night surpassed 12 million likes, it raises more questions than it answers.
With new rumors and conjecture always circulating throughout the open transfer season, clubs and players, naturally, choose their moments to speak out. When they do go to social media, you’d think they’d do it in a manner that makes their position more obvious and digestible. Ronaldo’s tweet had no such effect.
Let’s have a look at it in more detail.
The background is that Ronaldo still has a year remaining on his Juventus contract, which pays him close to $80 million each season. He’s been very productive and is coming off probably his finest season in Serie A, but he’ll be 37 in February, which is one of the reasons the club isn’t rushing to extend his contract.
The second reason is, of course, that Juventus has lost more than $300 million in the last two years. That’s why, back in the spring, there was conjecture that if Ronaldo decided to go, Juventus wouldn’t stop him, particularly if they could recover a modest price (estimated by Italian media to be about $30 million, or the remaining amortisation on their books). They’d lose his offensive output and a potential G.O.A.T. candidate, but they’d save money on his contract right now rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer when he becomes a free agency.
That was a few months ago, and potential destinations included the usual posse of megaclubs: PSG (pre-Leo Messi), Manchester United (pre-Edinson Cavani extension), and Real Madrid.
– Cristiano Ronaldo is enraged by ‘disrespectful’ comments regarding his Real Madrid transfer. – Ancelotti says he’never contemplated’ bringing Ronaldo back to Real Madrid
The Ronaldo-to-Madrid saga resurfaced late Monday night, courtesy to a journalist called Edu Aguirre’s participation on the Spanish TV program El Chiringuito. He said that Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti was in frequent communication with Ronaldo and his entourage, and that he wanted to lure him back to the club.
Gabriele Marcotti, a senior writer for ESPN FC, has compiled all of the latest news and reactions.
There’s a reason Aguirre was given more credence than your typical TV talking head, at least at first. I don’t know Aguirre directly, but they seem to be good friends. His Instagram feed is brimming with pictures of the two of them together. The most recent, from mid-July, shows them (obviously) shirtless on vacation.
There’s more, however. Edu and Cristiano are on the field, celebrating Cristiano’s fifth Ballon d’Or! Edu is paying a visit to Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus! Edu and Cristiano taking a selfie together! Edu and Cristiano have arrived in Dubai! On gigantic jet skis, Edu and Cristiano! In Kiev, Edu and Cristiano are enjoying their Champions League victory! Next to an enormous brown ball, Edu and Cristiano are changing out of their shoes and into football boots! At the Globe Soccer Awards in Dubai, Edu and Cristiano pose together! At what seems to be a Spider Man-themed birthday celebration, Edu and Cristiano!
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Edu even resembles his friend, or, more properly, a man attempting to imitate Ronaldo. He has the CR7 grin, washboard abs, and muscular biceps. Of course, his Instagram username is EduAguirre7, which is Ronaldo’s phone number.
There’s no denying that he adores Ronaldo. When Ronaldo talks, he even tears. And, up until about a month ago, he had more social media access than 99.99 percent of the world’s population, which is why a rational person would take him seriously. That’s why seeing Ronaldo speak about the “latest incident in Spain” and how he can’t “let people to keep playing about with [his] name” was a little surprising. After all, we were made to think that Edu was as close to Ronaldo as any journalist, thanks in part to his Instagram account.
Ronaldo’s apparent dissatisfaction with transfer rumors may indicate that they are all false, or that he is playing a PR game over his future move. Getty Images/Nicola Campo/LightRocket
Does this imply that his buddy Edu has gone rogue? That he was fabricating or at the very least embellishing events? They’re no longer friends?
We have no idea. We don’t know since his post is silent on the subject. We only know that he’s focused on his job, that he’s dedicated to and ready for all of the difficulties that lie ahead, and that the rest is just chatter. And he does it all without mentioning the club for which he now plays and for whom he has a contract until June 30, 2022: Juventus.
Ancelotti responded to the El Chiringuito story on Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. He said Ronaldo was a great who deserved all of his love and respect, but that he had never contemplated bringing him back and that he was “moving ahead.” I’m not sure whether his girlfriend, Georgina Rodriguez, has her own social media staff or if she manages her own postings, but it’s possible they’re the same people that handle Ronaldo’s, since she wasn’t any clearer when she replied to Ancelotti’s tweet with a “jajajajaja” (Spanish for “hahahahaha”).
So, which part is the most amusing? Are you giggling at the prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo returning to Real Madrid? Or are you implying that Ancelotti is lying when he claims he “never contemplated” re-signing him with your laugh? We don’t know, but if it’s the latter, poor old Edu Aguirre must have been speaking the truth, right? So Ronaldo couldn’t possibly be upset with him, can he? Is he capable of doing so? It beats the living daylights out of me. Except for Ronaldo, Georgina, and their friends and family, it beats the heck out of everyone (including Edu… or maybe not).
While Ronaldo may not like the attention, it is unavoidable since one of the best players in history is about to become a free agency in June. Not only that, but his present team has suffered significant losses, he is inextricably linked to Real Madrid and their fan base (as he mentions in his article), and he has a strong connection with Ancelotti.
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Throughout the show, you’re left with two options for conjecture. The first is that there’s a great plan at work here. In this scenario, Ancelotti wants to bring Cristiano back (perhaps as a short-term replacement for Kylian Mbappe), Juventus believes it’s better to receive some money now and reduce the salary bill than to earn nothing in June, and Ronaldo would welcome a return to the Bernabeu. But, obviously, the epidemic struck everyone hard; he didn’t exactly get along with Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, and Mbappe remains a goal, so approach with care.
So you get Edu to propose the notion, watch how people respond, and then have Ancelotti deny it (“Hey, it was true at the time!”) and compose a lengthy Instagram post in which he expresses his passion for Madridistas while omitting any reference of his present job. Then you sit back and wait to watch how Madrid and Turin respond. Perhaps there’s enough there to pull it off. Maybe he and Mbappe (who grew up with Ronaldo posters on his wall) will be able to play together next season.
Julien Laurens discusses why Cristiano Ronaldo will most likely stay with Juventus for another season.
The source, Edu Aguirre, adds to the credibility of this hypothesis. It makes no sense to violate confidence so casually when you’re close to a source, as he seems to be in the case of Ronaldo. That’s why I’m inclined to think he was just relaying what he had been taught, especially if Ancelotti and Ronaldo have frequent phone conversations. So, I’m going to assume that Edu is aware of him from Ronaldo’s perspective. After all, it’s Ronaldo’s six-pack that shows next to Edu on Edu’s Instagram account, not Carlo’s.
Is it conceivable that Edu was sent to flog the concept, and Ronaldo and Georgina’s following clear-as-mud postings are part of a larger scheme to test the waters? Sure. In reality, that would make sense, despite my gut instincts. Years of covering this sport have taught me that things aren’t always as calculated as they seem, that things don’t always go as planned, and that media psy-ops are uncommon.
Which leads us to the second scenario: Ancelotti and Ronaldo sometimes contact one other, Edu got carried away with the news, and Georgina and Ronaldo (or their social media staff) aren’t adept at using Instagram to get their message through in a manner that others can understand.
The rest is simply conjecture, which is allegedly what Ronaldo despises and which his Instagram message was meant to dispel.
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