soccer-related quick shots, shallow thoughts and uneducated guesses as
we head into the weekend.
• Rumors that the New York Red Bulls are on the verge of signing Ronaldo
are just that in my book. After speaking with the Brazilian striker not
too long ago, I would be shocked if Ronaldo -- with a couple more runs
to be made at the Champions League title that has eluded him -- left
Real Madrid. Three years from now? Now that's a different story.
I have no doubt that Ronaldo will play in the U.S. toward the end of his
career. He loves it here, having vacationed in both Los Angeles and
Miami on numerous occasions. He also desperately wants to build his
popularity in the States to the heights of Pelé and Beckham. But I just
don't see him taking a massive pay cut to do it right now. Ronaldo's
annual earnings of $23 million per year puts him in Derek Jeter ($25.5)
and Alex Rodriguez ($27.5) territory, and while Red Bulls billionaire
owner Dietrich Mateschitz would love to make his team the Yankees of the
MLS, I doubt he'd be willing to spend as freely as George Steinbrenner.
Ronaldo's transfer from Real Madrid alone would probably cost around $40
million, especially if he has a successful World Cup, and he would
probably demand an annual salary of around $8 million. Both figures are
the norm in Europe but unheard of in the U.S., where the combined salary
cap for 12 MLS teams is around $22 million. And while I love Ronaldo, I
have to question those who say he could fetch the same or more in
endorsements if he came to the States. Not only is Ronaldo a much bigger
name in Europe than he will ever be in the States, but unfortunately for
Ronnie, his English is poor, at best. He understands it but can't speak
it well, which might make it hard to pitch products in the U.S.