These days brought reminders of Jose Mourinho’s stark warnings to Dele Alli when they coincided at Tottenham. The Portuguese noted that the Englishman, a guy who seemed to have been destined for greatness was showing a lazy attitude in training, the first step towards flushing his career down the drain.
It turned out that Mourinho was right and the player ended up going down the wrong path. Mourinho remains among the elite after leading Roma to another title, in this case the Conference League. Dele Alli, on the other hand, have moved to Turkish side Besiktas, a destination where any footballer is welcomed like the Beatles in the 1960s.
Football makes people dream. Just look at the Lecce fans, who treated Samuel Umtiti to a massive welcome as if Italy had suffered a news blackout in the last four years.
A devastating footballer
On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo believes his second spell at Manchester United is over after failing to make the Champions League, a gaping wound for someone who controls his career numbers with the finesse of an artificer.
Manchester United games are bags of morbid curiosity to see the Portuguese’s face when he takes orders from Ten Hag on the touchline. The Portuguese makes a face as if to wonder who the man approaching him to give him instructions is for real. It doesn’t matter whether the scene takes place in Manchester or Southampton.
What Dele Alli lacks, Cristiano makes up for. The Portuguese has more ambition in one fang than the entire disorientated Englishman. A devastating footballer, first on the wing and then in the box, he has built a storied career with the final brush missing.
Yet this summer is making those who have always despised him very happy. They are those who humiliated him for being the only human who could keep pace with Leo Messi‘s career.
With five days to go until the market closes Cristiano does not know where he will play next season. Careers are built to the last day, whether you’re a legend or not. It is not being pretty. The footballer should rebuild these twilight steps. Cristiano, make your choice.