Wrecked the new Ferrari? Just call out the old Bentley
Ronaldo laughs off the corner-taking quips after a little mishap delays his Manchester United training
Sunday 11 January 2009
Cristiano Ronaldo, no doubt, will be weary of jokes about his corner-taking abilities after demolishing a £200,000 Ferrari 599 in a tunnel beneath Manchester airport. He managed this precisely two days after he took delivery of the vehicle.
There was a weary predictability about this: a twenty-something footballer with too much money, a healthy dose of over-confidence and a 200mph supercar, left-hand drive of course.
In less time than it takes to dart from 0-62mph, the £120,000-a-week Manchester United striker had reduced the car to a half a ton of the most expensive second-hand spare parts in recent automotive history.
He's blaming a patch of oil. But, having driven a very similar Ferrari 599, I found it is not an easy car to crash. There is so much technology dedicated to keeping its firepower in check and the driver out of trouble that it would take a serious, ham-footed effort to come to any grief.
Treat the accelerator gently and you're unlikely to find a more well-mannered V12 car. Put your foot down and a pack of snarling wildcats start a sing-song just behind your head; an invisible giant pins you back in your seat and the horizon rushes to greet you like an estate agent.
Ronaldo couldn't use drink as an excuse – the police checked – so it is a testament to his determination that he managed to write the car off completely, tearing off a wheel in the process.
Hats off to the car builders of Maranello that the player walked away unscathed, mobile phone at the ready to call for his back-up £100,000 Bentley. He even posed for fan pictures in front of the wreckage, by some accounts.
Ronaldo apparently made light of it at his club's training ground later that morning. While we might be chastened by such an event, for members of football's elite, totalling one of your fleet of cars or a clash with the traffic police goes with the territory.
Ronaldo may yet find himself answering questions from Greater Manchester Police once they have finished measuring the tyre marks. In the meantime, he will probably make do with his Bentley – or one of the other rides in his £2m personal fleet – and he already has his name on the two-year waiting list for the £875,000 Bugatti Veyron, claimed to be the fastest production car of all time.
Yesterday, a UK car-share firm offered him free membership and the use of a small, "environmentally friendly" hatchback whenever he likes.
Perhaps he should take them up on it, at least until he has had more practice taking corners.
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