So you're a new MLS club. There's so much work to do! Some teams need to build stadiums, and if you're a brand new club, to build the team's staff and infrastructure, in addition to building a roster when the time comes to take the field.
New MLS team Los Angeles Football Club is currently in this boat, evidently really pushing to secure a stadium site, a plan of action that is certainly necessary to provide roots and sustainability in the league. But the team needs to be building on several levels, and with reports that Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wants to play in MLS in 2018, it's time for LAFC to put the full press on the Portuguese attacker.
According to Grant Wahl's report on SI.com on Tuesday, CR7 would likely come when his contract with Madrid is up, which are the only likely circumstances under which an MLS team would be able to bring him in.
Wahl says the likely suitors (should they be interested, I suppose) would be in "Miami, Los Angeles and New York."
So that means it could be a five team battle (if Miami gets off the ground, of course, as that evidently still hangs in the balance), although you can't count out another team that might sneak in and try to woo him as well.
Still. Ronaldo apparently wants to come to Los Angeles, and what better way to really try to grab market share locally from the LA Galaxy and try to build a global footprint than for LAFC to land him?
Now, Sulley Muntari may turn out to be a solid addition if recent reports linking him to LAFC are to be believed, but he's very much in the mold of "aging European player looking to find a decent landing spot with an MLS team," at least from the outside. And he has the potential of being a disaster, honestly.
But with Ronaldo, as long as he doesn't suffer a catastrophic injury in the next couple years, or alternately, completely wears his body out with the punishment he subjects it to in training and matches, is as close to a home run for an MLS team as any player ever to come to the league. By 2018, he would be 33, and most likely won't be in the conversation as the best player in the world anymore, but there's no reason to believe he would fall off a cliff and quit being one of the most electric (and productive) players around.
He won't be cheap, but he would be as close to a sure thing as MLS has seen, frankly. He's handsome, he's got name recognition, and he would thrive in Los Angeles, where he could be part of the celebrity scene as well as continuing his soccer career.
Side factors that could help LAFC's case to bring him in? His son was born in Southern California. When I covered a Real Madrid-Chivas de Guadalajara friendly in San Diego in 2011, he wore an LA Dodgers hat when walking through the mixed zone. Some of LAFC's owners own (or work for) the Dodgers! The climate of Los Angeles is similar to his native Madeira?
Ok, so maybe I'm grasping a little here with these factors, but there's no reason why LAFC can't lead the charge to bring Cristiano Ronaldo in. I'd say that Miami might have a strong pull for him as well, but that team is even further behind the eight ball than LAFC, so the California club might as well take advantage and begin wooing him now (if they haven't yet started, of course).
It takes a lot to build a new team. But bringing in an absolute superstar who should contribute to wins from day one should be a priority. And given the reports linking him to MLS, Cristiano Ronaldo should be the main target for LAFC to make a major splash in MLS and beyond.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!