Is Ronaldo Today's Slave?

Posted on: 11 July 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves

Manchester United’s wantaway winger Cristiano Ronaldo has backed FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s suggestion that he should be able to leave United if he wants to.

The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with Spanish giants Real Madrid this summer and has already said it would be a “dream” to join the La Liga champions.

Blatter insists that players should be free to play where they choose and Ronaldo told Portuguese broadcaster TVI, “You know what I said, what I want and what I would like. I agree completely with the president of FIFA.”

“At the moment there is no agreement with Real Madrid. Now I have to wait and see but I do not know where I will begin the season.”

Ronaldo’s will-he-won’t-he saga has been ongoing for over 10 weeks now. Blatter compared the current situation of cat and mouse with modern slavery.

In football, there's too much modern slavery, in transferring players or buying players.

Blatter told Sky News, “I’m always in favour of protecting the player and if the player wants to leave let him leave.”

“If the player wants to play somewhere else, then a solution should be found because if he stays in a club where he does not feel comfortable to play then it’s not good for the player and for the club.”

“I think in football there’s too much modern slavery in transferring players or buying players here and there, and putting them somewhere.”

To any sane person, comparing the £100,000 a week wage of a 23-year-old footballer to that of a slave seems outrageous and ludicrous.

Even UEFA communications director William Gaillard felt moved to comment.

“It would be useful to remind people that slaves in all of the slavery systems never earned a wage,” he said.

Blatter seems a little confused, not just on the definition of slavery but also what he wants himself.

After all, his declaration that, “I’m always in favour of protecting the player, and if the player wants to leave, let him leave,” directly contradicts statements he made earlier this year, when he insisted that players’ failure to comply with the terms of their contracts would destroy the very fabric of football.

In February, following the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s ruling in the Andy Webster case - which paved the way for players to walk away from clubs having served only a portion of their agreed time - Blatter blasted, “Because of this unfortunate decision, the principle of contractual stability, as agreed in 2001 with the European Commission as part of the new transfer regulations and which restored order to the transfer system, has been deemed less important than the short-term interests of the player involved.”

Sepp BlatterNow Blatter is suggesting that Ronaldo, who only last year signed a new five-year deal at Old Trafford, be released and the transfer market effectively abolished.

Football’s financial markets would then be thrown to the wayside, benefiting whichever clubs can afford to pay the highest wages - allowing players to enjoy the same freedom as the rest of us.

Blatter’s latest slice of gibberish reinforces the strong feeling that FIFA’s head often speaks without thought or planning, or of course is the village idiot he’s painting himself to be.

Contrary to what Gaillaird says, football slaves do exist at some levels and in some areas of the world, but they do earn wages, just worryingly low ones that plunge the players into modern day poverty.

Ronaldo is by no means a footballing slave and whatever does happen between now and 31st August is anyone’s guess.

Most of us have become tired of another farcical episode in the world’s favourite game. One can only imagine how Sir Alex Ferguson is feeling in Manchester.

Ronaldo, who scored 42 goals as United won the Premier League title and Champions League last season, has a deal which runs until 2012 and the champions have repeatedly said he is not for sale.

Madrid president Ramon Calderon is keen to sign Ronaldo and last week said that the player will be the one who ultimately decides where he plays next season.

Will Ronaldo get his wish to sign for Real Madrid? Are Manchester United right to keep Ronaldo against his will? Is Sepp Blatter speaking sense?

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