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Should MLS take a chance on Ronaldo?

Ronaldo_1_ap

From the earliest days of Major League Soccer there have been plenty of names of superstar players who were believed to be possibilities to join MLS one day. Roberto Baggio, George Weah and none other than Ronaldo.

MLS never did get a chance to sign Baggio or Weah, but the possibility seems very strong that an MLS team could sign Ronaldo if it wanted to. Ronaldo is currently in Brazil, out of contract and working his way back from a horrific knee injury suffered last spring. His future is unclear as more and more teams in Europe seas Ronaldo as a risk rather than a valuable commodity.

The question for MLS is this. Is Ronaldo worth signing?

With the Designated Player rule making it possible for teams to pay someone of Ronaldo’s stature the type of salary he might receive in Europe, the option will be there in 2009. Now the question is whether someone should take a chance on the oft-injured striker.

The New York Red Bulls were strongly linked to Ronaldo two years ago, but nothing materialized. Might the Red Bulls still be interested in a player who could help sell out Red Bull Park and stir up considerable interest from the large Brazilian community near the site of Red Bull Park?

Whether it’s New York or D.C. or New England, you have to wonder if MLS teams would be willing to take the risk on a 32-year old with knees as bad as Ronaldo’s. Yes, he would certainly help sell tickets if he were healthy, but considering the number of catastrophic knee injuries he has endured, the risk would be extremely high.

I ask you, SBI readers, for your opinion. Do you think MLS should take a chance on Ronaldo?

What do you think? Would you want your team to spend the money on Ronaldo? Do you think he would be great for MLS, or would he be another DP mistake?

Share your thoughts below.

123 comments
  • Larry

    There is only one question that matters: could he improve the overall quality of play? If not, he should not be hired. If he can, then yes, but be paid a small base salary and then given a per-game additional rate.

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  • Larry Y

    Not for a guaranteed contract. And for a pay-for-performance clause (some reasonable combination of goals score and games played).

    Like

  • Scott C

    I’d like too see him in the league; he would be the best player to ever play in MLS. But, of course, he’d be a huge risk, and with the hit on the salary cap, that is a really bad risk for any team to take. Still he’d be a major draw and a headline grabber. MLS needs to tweak the DP rule to make it easier for teams to sign players like this. Let’s face, great players in their prime are NOT going to come to MLS.

    Like

  • Paul

    Forget the fact the the top leagues won’t touch him. Even mid- and lower-tier European leagues aren’t interested. Too often injured, out of shape, out of contract, likely to demand too much money, and likely to pull attention and resources from players and projects that can help MLS over the long term. Other than that, it’s a great idea . . .

    Like

  • brett

    larry and larry y- a per game clause will NEVER go through…. Ronaldo wouldnt dare to be that dumb…. he will demand a lump sum and you’ll get what you’ll get…. again im AGAINST this…. perhaps prior to his injury he could have survived the MLS, but after he’d be warming up the bench for the rest of the players… and depositing his fat check

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  • brett

    Scott C- “Let’s face, great players in their prime are NOT going to come to MLS. ”

    and yet another reason we should look more to our home-grown talent, if not younger talent from abroad… africa and s.america (even c.america) are loaded with young prospects….

    Like

  • heio!

    I know this will seem unfounded and all and unrelated to ronaldo perhaps, but Sounders FC will make their DP announcement this month.

    mark this post.

    Like

  • Oranje Mike

    If Ronaldo is willing to earn his paycheck by staying fit and showing he is healthy then I think an MLS side should give him a shot. If he’s seeking tons of cash for a roll of the dice then all clubs should stay away.

    Like

  • Brian O'Masta

    There is no way that Ronaldo could be worse than Denilson. Also he would create the same amount, if not more, hype then David Beckham. I think that it is definitely worth it. Start him out with a one year contract then go from there.

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  • Paul

    I know that some people say that “there’s no such thing as bad publicity,” but I’m not so sure. Fans and media from around the world would be interested to see how Ronaldo was doing. And American fans and media would surely follow suit, raising the visibility of the league. But then what? Will millions of people look in on his matches, see the rest of the league, and become fans for that reason? I know his skills *might* still be there, and if so, that he’s better than any striker that MLS has, but the whole idea has a “circus” sort of feel to it. I agree with the post that advised to spend the same amount of money on a half-dozen up-and-coming youngsters from Africa, South America or Central America.

    Like

  • Nick

    No. For the obvious health reasons and because he would not be motivated to play here. The only team in the world he wants to play for is Flamengo. He would be here just for the money and not for the benefit of the league or US soccer. Don’t waste money on this guy.

    Like

  • Thomas

    Well it’s not like the Red Bulls have a pattern of signing past it players with bad knees…oh

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  • Thomas

    And no one worth a damn would expect him to create the same amount of hype as Beckham. We saw how pissed the media got when Beckham was injured…imagine how much of a laughing stock we’d be when our new poster boy tore his ACL in his first training.

    Like

  • Amit

    I think he should sign with a USL team that wants to get into MLS. That would seal the expansion deal.

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  • John

    He’s a good fit with NY.. they need another striker and another draw for their new stadium next year. Angel and Ronaldo would sell tickets, merch, draw good TV ratings and create a buzz. Of course NYRB could take a safer path and sign a much lesser know striker who is healthier or they could take a shot with Ronaldo who would be one of the biggest draws in the league and when healthy, one of the leagues best strikers.

    It’s a no brainer, big market teams need big name players.

    Henry isn’t happening, NY should sign Ronaldo.

    Like

  • TimN

    I think it would be a bad move. He’s going to demand a high salary, so whoever would sign him would then have salary cap issues and a player that is questionable to perform at expectations. As well, someone above mentioned that the MLS has several fields with turf surfaces…what a disaster waiting to happen for a guy with bad knees.

    MLS should also shy away from guys like this because I think it would help them move away from the international image that the MLS is a place “where the has-beens go to retire.”

    Like

  • John

    I’d rather MLS be “where the has-beens go to retire.” Than “where third rate players making under $50,000 go.”

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  • Adam M.

    Anyone who thinks that MLS couldn’t use Ronaldo is, with all due respect, an idiot. Ronaldo, healthy and in form, as he was for Milan when he went down, is still one of the top twnety strikers is the world, still pretty young, and would be fighting for a spot on Brazil’s national team (given their inconsistent play up front). Not to mention, he is a top five all time legend and marketing dream possibly only second to Beckham. Put him on a grass field and thousands of billboards and print money and tally the goals. The honest question is not whether MLS needs him, but whether he would come here. That I doubt, particularly if he can go play with Robinho at Man City, or for that matter, live off his giant wealth and play for his boyhood team Flamengo. If Ronaldo thinks he has any shot at the 2010 World Cup, he won’t come here, period.

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  • brett

    John – well if the MLS turns into a “where the has-beens go to retire.” league then we wont have to worry about it being a “where third rate players making under $50,000 go.” league b/c we wouldnt be able to afford even that quality….

    id rather the league develop on its own rather then dive into the pool of aging stars, and some of those seem to be broken… instead of dropping millions on a guy, perhaps we should drop a couple hundred thousand on a guy like Schelotto and then work on producing a quality side for him to play with (like CLB)… id rather us focus on home-grown players and see our league develop that way then play millions for other league’s trash….

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  • brett

    Adam M- “Ronaldo, healthy and in form, as he was for Milan when he went down, is still one of the top twnety strikers is the world, still pretty young”

    32 and a nagging knee injury?? sounds awfully familiar… fans of both teams with these types of players (im thinking of two in particular) constantly b*tched and complained about how they couldnt produce on the field and spent more time off the field nursing their injury….

    as for ronaldo having a shot for 2010… HAHAHA no way in hell would he have a shot….his intl career is over, plain n’ simple

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  • Beech

    “I learned more in the last 90 minutes against Ronaldo than I have in my entire career.” – Jimmy Conrad

    *in an interview after the MLS Select team played Real Madrid.

    Absolutely bring him in, but only on an incentive laden contract based on starts, production and a percentage of image/merchandising right. No guaranteed contracts other than a nominal base.

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  • Adam M.

    Ronaldo is 32, a marketing machine, an All-Time Great, and when healthy, still one of the top twenty strikers in the world (and still very much in the mix for Brazil in 2010 given their inconsistency). With all due respect to the doubters, anyone who wouldn’t want him in MLS is an idiot (yes, he needs the right side and probably needs to play on grass). The reality, of course, is that Ronaldo probably won’t come here prescisely because he is too good and too young (and won’t like the artifical surfaces), and knows he won’t get a shot with Brazil if comes to the US. ManCity or PSG or someone will throw loads of Euros at him and keep him in top flight football for a few more years, or perhaps he will stay home and play for Flamengo (the Brazilian A league is way better than MLS).

    Like

  • Huey Bahr

    Can he sell tickets? Can he do interviews? Is he willing to make statements like “MLS is a very competitive league” and “the Seattle Sounders are a very tough team” if so, sign him. I don’t care if all he does is sit on the bench and talk to kids in youth soccer camps. He would be a valuable asset to any city’s soccer community and to any team savvy enough to hire him.

    Like

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