He just couldn't let it go, could he? Not even for the tactful matter of a few hours. At the end of the Thursday when Real Madrid finally got to revel in laying the long road for Cristiano Ronaldo to come, their former president Ramon Calderon made his claim for some of the compliments going. And that, of all places, on a Catalan radio station.
"It has been shown that despite everything malicious that has been said, I left Real Madrid in an excellent financial situation. The signings Senor Perez is making are not coming from him, but from Real Madrid. Everything was ready so the Ronaldo transfer could be done this year.
No-one doubts that. Although most, even Marca given their Perez-praising coverage, would like to. All those insufferable rumours, in the end, had a root. But ultimately Calderon didn't make the call. Florentino Perez did. And it didn't take the three years since Ronaldo winked once at the Portuguese bench before doing so repeatedly to Madrid's, not to mention all that trifling. It took a mere 15 minutes, Perez following up a fax by courteously informing Manchester United's chief executive David Gill that "the money is in place". Alex Ferguson had already been informed on holiday in France that this time Ronaldo's decision was irreversible, so he gave the Glazers the go-ahead.
That Ronaldo was seen celebrating that decision with Paris Hilton in Beverly Hills probably invites a few too many easy asides, both having regularly scored in front of cameras. But now all is said if not just yet done, it's worth reflecting on what Ronaldo's own final act in a United jersey actually was.
It wasn't a display of powerful striking, penetrating sprinting or prolific scoring but instead that other hallmark of his Old Trafford career: selfish petulance. With 16 minutes left of Barcelona's laceration of United, a frustrated Ronaldo barged Carlos Puyol to the floor. He got a booking and, with his way barred, fittingly spent that final 16 looking like he wanted to be anywhere else.
A pity. But as an ending not entirely improper. Because no-one in Manchester United's pantheon has ever left the club with fan affection so ambiguous. And, whatever of age or attitude, in United's pantheon Ronaldo undoubtedly has a place. The fact he is the club's only European Golden Boot winner, one of only four Ballon D'Or winners and – most of all – that those tributes directly led to club football's ultimate trophy in Moscow are confirmation enough of that. Overrated or underrated, that's really all that needs to be stated. He certainly deserves a higher placing than the 50th in a recent Times list of the greatest United players. Try 15th or even fifth.
The difference though. No-one else in it, not George Best when he craved the lights and life of Chelsea (having seen Raquel Welch at Stamford Bridge) nor Roy Keane when he courted Bayern Munich over his new contract, ever left United or their fans feeling they wanted out merely because there was a bigger planet in the galaxy. Not even Ray Wilkins who left for a middling Milan in the '80s, Mark Hughes who reluctantly cried his way to Barcelona nor Charlie Mitten who went for the unofficial, uncapped wages of the Colombian league in 1950. But Ronaldo has.
There are other elements to his exit of course, not least how the Latin lifestyle suits a lad from Madeira much better. But, really, the source of this whole story is ego. The ego attached to becoming the world's most expensive player at the world's most celebrated club. Boosting his own while collaterally diminishing United's.
Not that it required either Ronaldo or Real to even do that. Barcelona already had and that on a pitch as opposed to a popularity contest. And having finished his final campaign at United losing to the Catalans, there's still little indication his first at the Bernabeu won't end in the same fashion.
It of course suits Ronaldo's pretensions to be provided with the chance to deliver Real to their destiny, that landmark 10th Champions League. But holding that very trophy now are Barca and he couldn't break them either in the Stadio Olimpico three weeks ago nor in the semi-final 13 months ago. And that in a team that stringently played to his strengths, indulging him so as to inspire him.
It's the issue that's been largely left unsaid about this momentous move: whether Ronaldo can be as devastating at a club that – as Arrigo Sacchi described from his short, demoralising time at the Bernabeu – seeks to exploit talent as opposed to expand on it.
Ronaldo, after all, has never looked as penetrative for Portugal as he has for United. Because, although the ultimate reference point will always unfairly be the 42 goals he got in 2007-08, that was still a freak season with a genuine sense of purposeful formation. The inherent unselfishness and energy of both Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez were expertly used to provide Ronaldo with the platform and positions to score so much in an almost organic system. Within it, Ronaldo may have lifted United to greater heights, but the raise was returned.
Indeed, it's since been suspected that Ferguson's switch to a more stuttering 4-2-3-1 and the intermittent integration of Dimitar Berbatov has been to prepare the team for Ronaldo's departure. Witness how much more time he spent ranting on the right as opposed to rampaging down the middle.
There's no such sense of planning at Real other than vague management-speak about "the project". The only details that betray any apparent design came from director-general Jorge Valdano. "Two or three signings will not do, we must pay attention to the whole team. We need 22 who can give their best, not just 11 starters."
In that context, much will depend on the adaptability of new manager Manuel Pellegrini. An impressive figure who illustrated a capacity for creating tightly-coiled but tantalising teams at Villarreal, for all the money spent on his behalf, even he starts a block behind Pep Guardiola as he doesn't enjoy the same kind of say in the team's direction.
The image so far persists of expensive but ill-fitting parts needing to be put together. Kaka and Ronaldo will be placed at the apex of an admittedly astounding attack, but with an obligatory defensive midfielder like Xabi Alonso positioned to provide balance on paper if not necessarily practice. Because although the details are much more dynamic, right down to the choice of coach, there's little indication the newly-crowned 'Floren Team' will be any different to the 'Galacticos' in anything but name. As the latter learned and Guardiola's Barca have proved, the athletic demands of modern football require much more application of approach amid mere ability. Although Pellegrini may yet change that, Real lack that sense of seamlessness right throughout the club.
It's a factor Barca have been snootily commenting about the last few days, as well as – a little more defensively – Real's finances. Everyone from captain Carlos Puyol to president Joan Laporta has had a cut, essentially repeating the same question: "I would like to know where Madrid get their money". Barca finance director Xavier Sala i Martin attempted to provide his own answer, stating: "If the money does not come from Perez's own business, then it will come from a property developer."
Barca should perhaps look closer to Camp Nou because this time, instead of selling the club's training ground, Perez has come to an arrangement with Catalan bank La Caixa. As such, credit lines were made open for the initial €150m to be spent so far on Kaka and Ronaldo. Not that Perez would say "spent". Instead "invest" since his economic model is essentially to stake future finance on the merchandising a squad of marquee players will bring. One study suggested Ronaldo and Kaka could bring an additional €120m a season.
Should that prove optimistic, then there's still no need for pessimism around the Bernabeu because of the peculiar financial position the likes of Perez have helped create. Real may officially be €500m in debt but their status as a 'non-profit social trust' ensures banks don't work with them under financial norms. And, in any case, underpinning that institution is the most aggressive and successful marketing department in football, the world's biggest TV deal bringing in €150m a season and Spain's favourable tax rates which allow huge flexibility with foreign wages.
And for all the moralising about spending such money in an economic crisis meanwhile, Perez would insist Real's changes will initiate a chain reaction elsewhere. Not least because they need to off-load "at least nine players" to operate on an optimum squad of 25. As stated here last week, the pick of the parting players is likely to be Wesley Sneijder.
A star of Euro 2008 only a year ago, he would seem the perfect fit to add penetration to United's suddenly parsimonious midfield. He hasn't yet appeared on any of Ferguson's supposed shopping lists and, despite Bayern Munich's boasts, the manner in which Real have suddenly backed off Franck Ribery not to mention recent rumblings about boot deals suggest the bulk of the Ronaldo money is set to be spent on the French winger and Wigan's Antonio Valencia. Barca's Samuel Eto'o and Lyon's Karim Benzema also remain real options.
As with Roy Keane, Ferguson has usually sought to reshape rather than directly replace when a talisman has left so the swap of Ribery for Ronaldo would appear risky. Nevertheless, after so much kowtowing, it could actually see United capitalise. A converted Muslim, Ribery will come without the entourage of emotions Ronaldo did. And although he perhaps lacks the Portuguese's sheer power, Ribery can defy a defence through ingenious dribbling in the way Ronaldo never could. For all the talk of emulating Best, it remains one of the biggest myths that Ronaldo was a dribbling winger. He only ever beat his man when he had 10 metres of space to sprint into, the sort not often granted in Champions League finals. Key goals he got as a compromise, but always within Ferguson's platform.
Either way, Ferguson's need to rebuild adds a new narrative and intrigue to next season. Likewise, for arguably the first time since 2007, the Premier League's supremacy has been pierced and we have six teams truly in contention for the Champions League as opposed to England's big four and Barca.
At the very least, all the talk has terminated. Time to see what everyone – most of all Ronaldo – actually does.