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A Huge Challenge For Fergie And For United

Cristiano Ronaldo is as good as gone - we should not think for a moment that he's going to refuse personal terms at Real Madrid. The real question is how will United use the obscene amounts of money they'll receive for their best player.

And Ronaldo is our best player, make no mistake about that. He is irreplaceable in many ways: his free-kicks, his ability to win a game out of nothing, to score crucial goals at crucial times, his directness and his completeness will be sorely missed and we won't find all of these in one new player.

United will have to evolve, will have to change. But frankly, that would have been necessary even if Ronaldo had stayed. We had a great season in terms of results but looking at the football we played - well, if we're honest, it was generally mediocre and sometimes downright atrocious. Our attack was pedestrian, we scored only 68 league goals and looked blunt so very often.

Arguably, it is a trend that's been evident for a while now: the 'new United' was at its fluent, attacking best in 2006/07, was still pretty good (and very efficient) in 2007/08 but only the efficiency remained for 2008/09, a few glimpses of brilliance (the Arsenal semi-finals, for example) aside.

So we need to evolve because the fluidity, the creativity has gone. Ronaldo's ego deprived him of his creativity and turned him into a goal machine - though people say that he creates plenty of goals as well, this is simply not true: 7 assists in 2007/08, 6 assists in 2008/09... this is not bad but not irreplaceable either, he's not our main creative force.

The lack of pace is an issue and that's why I do not wish to keep Tevez. He's slow and that's a fact. Berbatov is also slow, true, but at least he's got excellent technical qualities, something that Tevez can't boast. I believe that United need to grasp this moment and invest and the priority should be to add pace to the attack.

Also, it is somewhat refreshing that we won't have to build the team on anyone next season. Ronaldo was obsessed with himself, with scoring goals and in the end paid little attention to the team, a few occasions aside (but recalling those occasions is painful because those games remind us what a loss he actually is) and we had to shape the team to suit Ronaldo and to do the donkey work for him. Maybe we'll have a more balanced team next season.

This is the challenge that is before SAF. I promise that I will be patient, I recognise the fact that probably a 'transition' season awaits us. There is the opportunity to create a more balanced team, to reverse the tendency that saw our football getting worse. Careful man management, detailed tactical analysis and, crucially, the right signings are required.

Fergie is, without a doubt, capable of delivering these. He's got major decisions ahead but one must hope that the sale of Ronaldo was a strategic decision. So far it looks like one, what with the whole thing being so smooth and quick. We won't have to endure a long transfer saga and it's also clear that we do not sell because we've been forced into a corner: in all probability Gill, Ferguson and co. have known ever since last summer that they'll sell Ronaldo. But, crucially, they bought themselves time to make long-term schemes and Ronaldo departs on United's terms, for an extraordinary amount of money.

There's no question that with his sale we became weaker. However, there is the chance to create an even better team. Hopefully we'll take it.

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The Journalist

Writer: Zae Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday June 11 2009

Time: 3:32PM

Your Comments

I hope that Fergie will restore Rooney to his rightful place as he's taken a back seat in recent seasons. Look what he's done with england when he plays upfront... 80m is a lot, and we could develop the team greatly. I'm sure Fergie has had something up his sleeve ever since he knew Ronaldo was leaving... it could get worse, or it could get very much better. One thing's for sure, Fergie will have a very easy team-talk next season - show them it's not about Ronaldo, show them you're not a one man team. we now need to focus on adding players and restoring Rooney as our key player who we will build the team around.
Man utd champions
You are wrong. Tevez is in fact as fast and effective as (or even more) the legendary Mark Hughes, now Man City manager. That's a fact. That could be the main reason why Tevez is his primary target this season, as Tevez reminds Mark Hughes of himself. Some fans think they know Tevez better than these prominent players like Mark Hughes, which is very bizarre indeed. Besides, I don't think anyone could be so influential like Tevez in helping West Ham to fight their seemingly impossible relegation battle. I have never seen anything like that in the history of football (except Maradona's career with Napoli), it was just simply awesome stuff. Not even Berbatov could have done that, just look at Newcastle Utd and you will know it is very hard. That's a fact too.
I don't know about the rest but for me personally I'm calm and happy.At last this chapter is over and people can talk about utd and not ronaldo.I'm one of those who believes in team work and respect for one and all with ronaldo it was the opposite,he was all for himself.No one can argue that he was fantastic for us but if there is no love,no passion then u have no place in the utd dressing room.Only time will tell whether he does well or not but it doesn't really matter now,hopefully u will find someone there when things are not going right for u.Remember ronnie the utd bus waits for no one.
Well with the the money we can buy a lot but we don't have to.I personally believe u can replace any player in the world,yes it might take time but we don't really have to spend,spend and spend.For me the defence and keeping department is covered,at least the defence is O.K., the keeping department can be reviewed after this season.The midfield is the place the work has to be done,two wingers now that ronaldo has left and hargreaves fitness has to be checked,if he is fit it would be like having a new player and sign up tevez or another striker in his place.We should just trust fergie,these are the situations which he thrives on.
If we win the Prem this season it will be nothing short of GENIUS on the part of Fergie.
Wow, SO MANY POSTS from United fans?!?!?!?!??!!? Now THAT's a rarity! :D
abmutd, have to agree. High time we focused on the self-less team players like Tevez, Rooney and Carrick. I'm actually fairly excited now that Ronaldo has gone. The other teams write us off at their peril - i have a feeling we will be liberated and rooney in his best position could be due a fantastic season... actually optimistic. skylab, the team wasn't Ronaldo - remember last season? we couldn't win without Rooney? we are united, not Ronaldo, and we need to prove this.
Man utd champions
abmutd, have to agree. High time we focused on the self-less team players like Tevez, Rooney and Carrick. I'm actually fairly excited now that Ronaldo has gone. The other teams write us off at their peril - i have a feeling we will be liberated and rooney in his best position could be due a fantastic season... actually optimistic. skylab, the team wasn't Ronaldo - remember last season? we couldn't win without Rooney? we are united, not Ronaldo, and we need to prove this.
Man utd champions
I've a challenge for you lot! Any chance of changing your POLL it's a bit out of date chaps!
Ronaldo was your best player by far last season. After that Carlos Tevez, though Sir Alex redNose did not seem to realise that. After that your central defenders. If you'll do not retain Tevez, or at least capture Ribery, you are "meat" next season.
Zeenut? Tevez didn't have the best of seasons. what about Rooney? Vidic? Carrick? Giggs?
Man utd champions
Tevez is gone, fellows. Dont bank on him! And nobody wrote you off. You just lost one player! Not the whole squad!
Merlin, it will be changed, but only in the next season!
I really wish all these opposition teams with such affection for carlos tevez would sign him up! The worst thing that could happen to me this summer would be to see the ronaldo money spent on tevez and valencia at a combined cost of 50M. I'd rather we signed no strikers and gave welbeck and macheda a chance, than see tevez running into oblivion for another three years.

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