Thankfully Euro 08 has pushed this Cristiano Ronaldo foolishness out of the headlines for a few weeks. The world's two most prestigious clubs continue to grapple for the rights to the world's greatest player, but between Ronaldo, Manchester United and Real Madrid, only the European champs have any leverage. Assuming ManU aren't budging from their claim that Ronaldo will not be dealt under any circumstances, the player isn't going anywhere this off-season, which is what makes this saga irritating at best.
On Monday Manchester United registered a formal complaint to FIFA over Real's continued pursuit of Ronaldo. The episode shows why Europe could benefit from stricter tampering rules such as those used in American leagues. While Europe has policies against "tapping up," the process is frequently accepted with a wink and a nod. By contrast, if an American franchise so much as whispered the name of a player under contract to another squad, they'd face an immediate stiff fine. Real's coy pursuit of Ronaldo is beneath a club of their stature. On the other side of the Atlantic they'd be dealing with far more than just a tarnished reputation.