English press mixed
Cristiano Ronaldo may be a diva but he was the best footballer in the world and Manchester United will suffer after he leaves Old Trafford for Real Madrid, British newspapers said Friday.
United said Thursday that it had agreed to sell the 24-year-old -- FIFA's world player of the year -- to the Spanish side for a world record 80 million pounds (130 million dollars, 94 million euros).
Commentators admitted it was difficult to decide whether they would miss Ronaldo or bid him good riddance for his tantrums and primadonna behaviour.
"Poser, diva, faker and vulgar... but damn, he was the very best," headlined the Daily Mirror tabloid.
"United will not miss his attitude... But even if Sir Alex Ferguson is allowed to invest all the 80 million pounds from his sale in the purchase of new players, United will be a poorer team without Ronaldo," one writer said.
Most newspapers acknowledged that with Ronaldo making it clear that he wanted to move, there was no point keeping him in Manchester much longer.
But one Daily Mail commentator acknowledged: "United have traded their main man to a serious rival.
"There is no precedent for this, no moment in history to call upon and place the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo in comforting context. 'Remember when we sold the best player in the world, and it made us stronger?'
"No, because that never happens. Never has and never will."
English football would not be the same without Ronaldo, whose flamboyant style marked him out as much as his playing, many commentators said.
The playboy image was reinforced with pictures Friday of the player partying with hotel heiress Paris Hilton in Los Angeles on Thursday night, with the Daily Mirror noting he was heading to "Madrid (via Paris)."