Rumours are surfacing that Sir Alex Ferguson is set to spring a surprise by welcoming Cristiano Ronaldo back from injury far earlier than expected in one of the next 3 games.
If true, not only would this be a welcome boost as a return from his ankle op – this could be a masterstroke with so many potential ramifications.
“Wait”, I hear you say, “Of course having Ronaldo back is a good thing. He scored sh*tloads and is the best player in the world”. Well of course for these reasons Ronnie back is great news – but there are underlying, extenuating circumstances that could make the return all the more glorious.
Fergie knows, Ronaldo knows, the entire United fanbase know that our Portuguese wizard is walking somewhat of a tightrope among the Old Trafford faithful. It’s 50-50 whether he will be booed or cheered when his name is next read out on the teamsheet. In fact, even indifference. United fans are a loyal lot and tend to forgive players for their shortfalls but when it seems that a player has blighted the club – well, as the banner reads and the saying goes, it’s MUFC the religion. These incidents aren’t so easily forgotten.
However, with the Anfield trip coming up in little more than half a day from the time of this blog, Fergie’s admittance that he might include Ronaldo in the squad could have a massive effect.
Regardless of the result, including Ronaldo in the squad at Liverpool of all places will encourage United fans on the fence to cheer his name – even those stoutly against Ronaldo will surely be loathe to boo him at Anfield (or even Stamford Bridge, for that matter). In such a scenario, if we bring him on, it will be to a hero’s reception. Cue post-match declarations from Fergie that he had trust in the fans, just as he did after the World Cup. Cue re-affirmation from Ronaldo either publicly or personally that he made the right choice to stay. Cue greater team spirit. And the domino effect goes on.
Such tactics may not necessarily have a bearing on the result tomorrow or even that at Stamford Bridge but Fergie has always had his eye on the bigger picture and don’t be surprised if a token gesture of a place on the bench for Ronaldo is gifted by our wily boss – such a decision could turn out to be be a significant masterstroke.