10 years ago Manchester United and Barcelona were competing in the Champions League final.
And while Barcelona won comfortably that night, a decade on both teams are a shadow of themselves, competing to try and rediscover past success.
United are eight years into a cycle of mediocrity after Sir Alex Ferguson’s exit, while Barcelona’s may only just be beginning, with Lionel Messi leaving in the summer after an often disastrous past couple of years.
Barcelona are hoping new boss Xavi can turn their situation around, and they are being encouraged to consider a surprise move next summer.
Ronaldo at Barcelona?
The call comes from Toni Freixa, the defeated candidate in Barcelona’s recent presidential election earlier this year and a former member of the club’s board.
He told AS he believes Barcelona should consider the bold move of signing former foe Cristiano Ronaldo, considering his rollercoaster of a start back at Manchester United.
Quizzed about Ronaldo, Freixa said: “If there is a time to do this madness [it] is now.”
Surely there is no chance
We wrote this week how Manchester United’s poor form could prompt Ronaldo to reconsider his future at the club at the end of the season.
Will he really want to play in the Europa League, or the Conference League, if United end this season poorly? It’s unthinkable to imagine him playing in either competition.
If United’s form tanks, then it is conceivable Ronaldo would consider an exit, and there won’t be many clubs who can afford him.
Whether Barcelona could afford his wages is a question mark in itself.
And that’s before you consider whether Xavi would want him as part of his tactical fit, and the emotional ties to Real Madrid.
Ronaldo would ruin his Real legacy by playing for Barcelona, whose fans have despised him for years even if there is a grudging respect.
This is international week after all, where these type of outlandish talking points can often pop up.
But who would have thought Ronaldo would have been linked with City back in the summer?
If Ronaldo decides he wants to engineer a move back to Real Madrid, it would be right out of his agent’s playbook to have a Barcelona link doing the rounds next summer to try and scare them into action in the same way it did United.
In the meantime we can only hope United get their act together on the pitch, whoever is manager, and Ronaldo decides he wants to stay the duration of his three year contract at the club.
Results need to turn around quickly after the international break for the team to get back on track.
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