This unbelievably stupid World Cup has, against all odds, been out-stupided, at least for a moment, by the news that Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo are breaking up, leading to the expectedly futile flurry of news coverage, including a couple of tentative theories that he could be heading to Fiorentina.
I would like to nip this in the bud right now because it’s a bad and dumb idea for so, so many reasons. I’ll give you my top five in no particular order, but I’m sure y’all can come up with plenty of others; I could have made this article 2000 words but figured anyone with any sense at all wouldn’t need an explanation of why this idea is a very, very bad one.
1. Wages. Cristiano Ronaldo earned over €30 million a year since joining Real Madrid. That’s more than 60% of the current Viola wage bill lavished on a 37-year-old who’s been sacked by his last team and shown the exit by his previous one. After all, this is a guy who’s always been obsessed with monetary valuation, dating from his insistence on being called Real Madrid’s most expensive signing ever (even though he wasn’t) to his recent disgust with younger players earning high wages. If Fiorentina has any interest in staying in line with Financial Fair Play for European competition, this simply doesn’t work.
2. Jorge Mendes. The biggest agent on the planet isn’t sending his most valuable property to Florence. Fiorentina doesn’t draw enough eyeballs to justify the move economically. And if it did, Mendes won’t have forgotten the last time he got involved with Joe Barone; if he was willing to pull the relatively small fry of Gennaro Gattuso out because the Viola brass wouldn’t fall in line, it’s hard to imagine him doing the same for Cristiano Ronaldo.
3. A toxic presence is the last thing this team needs. Fiorentina began the season listlessly, leaking points at every opportunity. The players looked emotionally exhausted and confused. Vincenzo Italiano has just pulled them back into form, and risking those hard-won good vibes on a player who called his teammates “rats” is lunacy.
4. That Piers Morgan interview. About trashing Man U: it’s also worth noting that Cristiano Ronaldo went directly to a journalist (or whatever you want to call Morgan) to vent his spleen. Rocco Commisso and Barone have been, at minimum, openly hostile to the press. The last thing they’d want is a loose cannon who might bypass them in order to make a bunch of bombastic, self-serving statements to reporters. Criticizing ownership, management, and teammates is a bad look, and that’s the one that the Portugal captain has joyfully adopted.
5. Italiano’s system. While CR7 can still score goals, he doesn’t do anything else. That lack of activity off the ball is what got him benched by Erik ten Hag. And guess what Italiano asks out of his team? Yep, it’s a similarly hard-running, high-pressing approach. There’s no reason to think that he’d react to those demands any differently for Fiorentina than he did for Manchester United, and would require the entire team to be rebuilt around him on the fly, destroying every improvement we’ve seen since the demise of BeppeBall.
Again, there are plenty of other reasons to object to Cristiano Ronaldo’s presence at Fiorentina, chief among them the highly-publicized sexual assault case that, despite being dismissed over the summer on legal technicalities, contains some horrific details, as well as the player’s written admittance of guilt.
So yeah, for these five reasons and dozens more, this doesn’t make any sense. Let Cristiano Ronaldo pout his way to Real Madrid or Chelsea or Saudi Arabia or MLS and destroy whichever club he winds up at with his nuclear fallout of a personality. The Viola have plenty of issues without adding the most toxic player in the world.