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13 Juli 2008

Ronaldo Wouldn't Ruin Team Spirit - Higuain

The Spanish giants have enjoyed a revival in the past two seasons, following three years without a trophy in a barren spell that deeply tarnished the reputation of the club.

The previous era had been one of unbridled success, attributed to stars such as Raul, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Zinedine Zidane, but when the Galacticos, as they were known, became one too many, the squad lost its balance on and off the pitch and the club suffered as a result.

What followed was a transitional phase, as many of the superstars retired or moved on and a new era began at the Santiago Bernabeu, and though vast amounts of money were spent in luring top quality players once again, they were considerably younger and less proven than those before them and the infamous divide of 'Zidanes and Pavones' has been bridged.

This unity is thought to have been a large part of what has seen los Blancos win back-to-back titles, first under Fabio Capello - who was shockingly sacked as thanks for his achievement - then his successor Bernd Schuster built on that success to win in much more resounding fashion last season.

What has ensued since has been a transfer saga of old. The way in which they have pursued Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo is somewhat reminiscent of the manner in which they lured Figo, Zidane and Ronaldo to the Spanish capital, and Ronaldo himself a player of similar stature in the media.

As a result, many have viewed this as a return to the Galactico policy, and one that will signal the beginning of the end as David Beckham's signing did five years ago, as the dressing room unity will be adversely affected.

Youngster Gonzalo Higuain, who is an example of a more shrewd purchase from los Merengues made in January 2007, ws coming into his own towards the end of last season, playing sensationally off the bench to win his side the league among many other promising performances.

He has told Spanish daily As that Ronaldo's arrival, if anything, would have the opposite effect to what many are expecting, if anything: "I'm sure that wouldn't be the case. If he comes this would not happen, just the opposite.

"I think the same as everyone else, that he is a great player and that there has been a lot of expectation created around his signing for Real Madrid. If he comes here he would be welcome and our team would be much better.

"Any player would like to have Cristiano Ronaldo in their team."

Fernando Montabon,