Bale or Ronaldo, who would be better for Manchester United?

If United fans had to pick one superstar to sign, who would it be?

If the media are to be believed, Manchester United are very much interested in trying to recruit either former favourite and reigning Ballon d'Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo or ex Spurs star and PFA Player of the Year Gareth Bale this summer.

But with a transfer for either player set to demand an astronomical fee surely close to what was needed to take each man to Real Madrid from the Premier League, it is likely that, even if both were available, it would be a case of one or the other.

United would be dead against utilising Real's rumoured interest in David De Gea to complete a deal for either Ronaldo or Bale, though that could depend on whether the Spaniard himself would push for a move to the Bernabeu. Likewise, Angel Di Maria, who has struggled at times since arriving from Real, may be sacrificed to raise money for a bid for either superstar.

So how do you go about choosing between the reigning best player in the world and the pretender who may be capable of replicating him.

Well, there is no doubt that comparing Ronaldo's record to Bale is only going to leave one winner.

In the last five seasons the Portuguese has netted an astonishing 261 goals, an average of over 50 a year, while just this year he has 21 assists to his name.

Bale by comparison, has scored just 87 times in that time, though three of those seasons were at Spurs. This year he has assisted just 8 times for his club, and has 16 goals  - less than half that of Ronaldo's 42.

It wouldn't be too much to suggest United would be favourites for the title if they signed Ronaldo in time for next season - could the same be said if they picked 25-year-old Bale instead?

The problem is Ronaldo is five years older than the Welshman, and feasibly may only have a year or two left at this kind of level before he begins to lose the searing pace and power that makes him such a force. Even more importantly, Ronaldo's injury resistance is likely to diminish, and though he would probably still be a fine player, it would be difficult to maintain his current form into his mid-30s.

Former Tottenham star Bale on the other hand will be coming into the peak years of his career over the next five seasons, and would represent better value for money from a longevity perspective for the Old Trafford club.

There would of course also be the nostalgia factor. There aren't many United fans that wouldn't love to see Ronaldo back in the red of the Manchester club, though of course, Bale pulling on the colours would bring its own excitement.

Clearly, United fans would be delighted with either player, but if they could choose one or the other, it is possible they would have to weigh up the short-mid term success their former hero Ronaldo would offer, to the long term possibilities Bale would bring to the club.

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