Saturday, 8 September 2012


So, Ronaldo has had a very public falling out with the Real Madrid hierarchy, and the readings indicate it's more to do with remuneration and contractual terms than anything on the playing side of his "profession". The crux of the matter centers around Real Madrid's cold response to contract extension proposals submitted by Ronaldo's agent. The driving force behind the contract proposal is that Ronaldo seeks a steep augmentation of his wages, and he has done so taking the impending tax hike in Spain into consideration. In other words, he is making sure of a remuneration increase in real terms, after the debilitating effect of taxes. I do not imagine for a second Real Madrid do not figure their top scorer and star player does not deserve a pay rise, but they are certainly wincing at the total outlay which sources say would have the portuguese player on a £20 million gross annual  salary.

To be fair, Ronaldo is not alone in this.... This Class of Human Beings referred to as Sports Stars are never too shy to ask for more. Reward is an integral source of motivation for them, and they often see financial reward as synonymous with their value. In their ego driven world, they adopt a single minded and narcissistic approach to matters of such ilk. Sports stars are ferociously competitive, and it's a necessary trait to be at the top of their profession. The drawback to that is they then get churlish, and excessive. Ronaldo has been an unqualified success story so far. The World thought Real Madrid were bunkers signing him for £80 million from Man Utd three years ago, but it's been one of those few times when such vast sums have been splashed out on a player, and the gamble paid off. Ronaldo has exceeded everyone's expectations, scoring a staggering  150 times in 149 games, and was instrumental  to Real Madrid's La Liga triumph last season. He has been awesome, outwitting scores of opponents, sending keepers frequently to retrieve the ball from the back of the net ;  and the adulation from fans and the media has been deserved, his stock has risen, and shows no sign of flat lining.

One thing Ronaldo would fail to see to his own detriment, is that as much as he deserves a salary rise, he had better put into context a few factors before putting on that glum look..... the infantile petulance does not help his cause, neither is it edifying of his image when the fans learn that his "sadness" and refusal to celebrate scoring goals was for reasons of financial advancement, at a time when majority of the fans who pay to see him play in Spain are going through socio-economic struggles of their own. It would be a mortal blow if such rumblings of discontent is not  echoed in the camp of his arch-rival  Lionel Messi, whose salary is marginally higher. I doubt you will hear Messi squabbling with Barcelona over money publicly, which leaves Ronaldo vulnerable to vituperations, and accusations of an absence of class and dignity to his personality. Such a contrast with Messi will stick, and would cause a potentially damaging interpolation to his career biography. Messi's image is more clean-cut, in addition to surpassing Roanldo in the goal scoring and personal award stakes. The sub plot to their rivalry was played out over the last one week when they blanked each other in the Spanish Super cup; they looked ill at ease standing close to each other during the European Footballer of the year awards ceremony. Messi had the advantage of having Andreas Iniesta, a team mate on the podium, while Ronaldo looked stiff and aloof, and overall  playing to this script of a bad loser. If he wants to be recognized as the best, he ought to get a grip, and realize his self-possessed nature is an antithesis to his ambitions.

There are other reasons why Ronaldo must start the process of thawing not only his image, but his frosty relationship with his employers, and that is if the politics of his salary demand causes a strain or dichotomy in the Madrid dressing room, handing Barcelona the advantage to win the league title this season, he would have done his cause more harm than good. He would be the poster child for Madrid's failure.  He is the highest earner at the Club already, and the Spanish press would taunt him all the way  on this issue,  knowing how fragile his temperament can be. Being a foreigner, you sense the natives coalescing around their scorn for Ronaldo, even as single minded as he can be, his form will be affected if cranks the pressure any further on his Madrid pay masters. He will unwittingly be handing a nation ammunition, and the Madrid Fans sticks for his back.

Ronaldo needs to double down on the verbals and innuendo, and concentrate on matters that drive him where he wants to be. He has an £800 million buy out clause inserted in his contract, which  is unachievable for any Club. If he concentrates on playing well, scoring as many, if not more goals, stay silent and cheerful, with three years to run on his present deal, Real Madrid would be seeking peace talks in two years time, which potentially presents him with two advantages.  A. the wages for top earners would be even higher than what his hankering for now. B. There would be the prospect of him leaving for free, and consequently being parachuted into the top earners bracket in real time, as there would be a clutch of big Clubs on his trail, with a package to sign him easier to afford. In my view, Ronaldo should prime himself for long term gain rather a short one.  Spain's economic woes won't have peaked in three years, if taxes are set to rise in two years time. On the other hand, taxes for high earners in England is set to come down, and would further so before the 2015 general elections. If those on his negotiating team do the arithmetic, they would see where i am coming from. This calculations are preponderant on at least maintaining current form, which implies focussing on his football. Who knows, Man Utd might just be watching events at the Bernabeu i suspect....

If Roanldo wants to be the best, and earn the most, blustering is of no benefit right now. Playing better and seeing out his contract is the leverage he needs. A bit more decorum and courtesy would be nice too......  can anyone with the yellow pages find him a proper public relations agency?

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