In what proved to be a relatively quiet transfer deadline day Ronaldo, Saviola and Ayala all ended up staying put. Today the Spanish papers are dominated by talk of the transfers that didn’t happen rather than those that did. As the transfer window comes to a close, La Liga Review suspects that another story is only just about to begin.
The proposed swap deal involving Ronaldo and Adriano of Inter Milan failed to materialise. It is being reported that Ronaldo’s wage demands of 7.5 million euros a year as well as full ownership of his image rights were more than enough to dissuade Moratti from sanctioning the transfer. Adriano is said to be ‘hugely disappointed’ that he will not be joining Real Madrid after having been told by Capello that he was his ideal centre forward.
Consequently, Ronaldo is still a Real Madrid player, for the time being. All eyes will now focus on the player’s relationship with Capello this season and there is a feeling that the issue of Ronaldo’s future will dominate the sports pages in Madrid once again in January.
The Spanish media are sure to focus on the relationship between Capello and Ronaldo in the coming months and the story will be turned into a ‘culebron’, a soap opera, that the sports pages here are so very fond of.
Can the two men, with such completely different attitudes to the game actually work together? For a start they have to train together.
This is what Fabio Capello said in his first press conference as Manager of Real Madrid “Discipline is important. They have said I'm hard on my men, but we're lucky in that we only work two hours a day. We have to work with energy and happiness. We have to think about that winning spirit when we train, and we have to take on each match in the best physical and mental form possible”
Ronaldo is renowned for his ability to avoid training almost as much as his ability to score goals. He makes no secret of the fact that he hates it. “Energy and happiness”; certainly not.
There have always been doubts about his ‘physical and mental form’ and these will not have been eased by his recent world cup performances in Germany.
What about on the field of play? That is when Ronaldo’s supporters will claim that the player can be excused his deficiencies in training.
Capello is a manager who demands that his players give everything out on the pitch. His match tactics depend upon every player pressurising the opposition and asks the same from his forwards. He has told his players in preseason this week that his forwards must chase every ball “when we have it and when we don’t”.
This is not Ronaldo’s natural game and at 30 years of age it is unlikely he will ever change.
Capello places a great emphasis upon player’s attitude to the game and only wants players who are desperate to be at the club. He has said “We're working hard to build a great team in order to win titles, but winning is easier said than done. I am convinced we will. We will sign high quality players and we will recover the spirit that wearing this shirt requires. They will be warriors.”
In February of this year, Ronaldo very publicly stated that “"I have never stayed in a place where I am not wanted and I will consider my future at the end of the season. It is no secret that I am not happy in the stadium”. When asked how the fans might feel about these comments, Ronaldo responded “I don't know and I don't care."
With regard to the fans and their relationship with the players, Capello says “Fans want them to work hard and be a team. Neither fans, nor myself, like it when a player takes to the pitch and doesn't run or play hard. They have to be modest, and can't think that wearing the white shirt guarantees victories.”
In February, Ronaldo said “"I have no need to prove anything. I'm 29, I have been a professional for 15 years and I have won practically everything. I know how important I am to the team.”
He may have a point. He has scored over 20 goals in every season he has played for Real Madrid, except for the last when he still managed a very impressive 14 in 23 games.
Another question that Capello will need to find an answer to is; how will Van Nistelrooy and Ronaldo compliment each other?
VanNistelrooy’s reputation as a goal scorer is undoubted. That is what Van Nistelrooy does. He scores goals.
So does Ronaldo. The problem is, neither of them does very much else.
Will Capello ever play the two forwards together? At Juventus Capello’s strike partnership of choice was Ibrahimovic and Trezeguet. It was Trezeguet’s job to score the goals and Ibrahimovic was there as a provider as well as striker. It is hard to see Ronaldo and Van Nistelrooy working together in the same way and Capello is renowned for his conservative approach to management. He knows how he wants his team to play and will not change it, for anybody.
With the transfer window coming to close, another story is about to unfold and it would be rash to bet against hearing the words ‘Ronaldo’ and ‘Adriano’ in the same sentence come January.