Aaron Ramsey's Cardiff Return Could Be Another Example Of Emotion Trumping Sense

Ramsey last played for Cardiff City 12 years ago
10:00, 14 Jul 2023

A year ago social media was filled with speculation that Gareth Bale was set for a return to the English football pyramid with his boyhood club Cardiff City in the Championship. The Welsh icon had visited the club’s training ground and held talks with then-boss Steve Morison, but the excitement amongst Bluebirds supporters was quickly quashed when Bale announced he was joining Los Angeles FC in MLS.

Twelve months on and Cardiff are set to sign another legend of Welsh football, with Dragons captain Aaron Ramsey lined up for an emotional return to the club, 12 years after he last played for his boyhood team. On the face of it he is a huge signing for the south Wales side because Ramsey would bring with him a wealth of experience from the Premier League, Serie A, as well as on the European and world stage both domestically and internationally.

But Cardiff will not be signing the player who became a star at Arsenal and for the Welsh national team during the best period of their history. Ramsey is 32 now and while for some this is nowhere near the end of their capabilities to play at a decent level, the midfielder looks to have lost his engine, which is the basic requirement of a player in his position.


It pained Wales fans to say it given what he had offered them over the past seven years but in his recent performances, including at the World Cup, it was clear that Ramsey was out of his depth and was no longer the player of old.

While the blame for Wales’ recent drop-off since Bale’s retirement in January have largely been placed at manager Rob Page’s door, Ramsey has also been slammed by fans who feel that his time is done on the international stage. A move to Cardiff doesn’t make much sense either. It is a switch clearly driven by the heart rather than the head by both the player and club.


The Championship is an unforgiving league and midfielders are required to cover so much ground. A player of Ramsey’s history will be expected to dictate matches, which seems unlikely. His recent exploits at club level haven’t been great, either. 

He had an underwhelming spell with Nice and before that a forgettable loan experience with Rangers. Ramsey had his crucial spot-kick saved in the Gers’ Europa League final defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in 2021-22. Even discounting that, his overall contributions at Ibrox were lacking when once again there were high hopes.

Cardiff are one of the clubs in the second tier that many are expecting to struggle given the strength of the field for the upcoming term. They finished just above the relegation zone last time out and would theoretically have been relegated had Reading not been deducted six points. There has already been some good business conducted by Cardiff’s rivals this summer and this move would suggest they are gambling with Ramsey in a bid to catch up.

The Bluebirds need to equip themselves for a comfortable season and the emotional return of Ramsey looks likely to hinder that rather than help it. As soon as it looks like he isn’t up to scratch in the Championship, the fans will get restless and the club will be left with a player, likely on a high salary, whose best days are long behind him. 

Ramsey needed to only look back at the return of Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United. Yes, the Portuguese forward was able to score a lot of goals but his style was holding the club back from progressing on the pitch, as well as disrupting the dressing room.

In the Championship, Troy Deeney has been released by Birmingham City after spending two years with the club he’s supported all his life. For years he said he wouldn’t play for the Blues because of the weight of expectation on him to deliver, and he was proven right. His stint was mediocre and the fans weren’t hung up about his exit.

This example could offer a glimpse into Ramsey’s future at the Cardiff City Stadium. He’s highly regarded by the Bluebirds and his reputation is intact, but a poor campaign in the Championship could see it destroyed, likely leaving both him and the club regretting the move, wishing they could rewind the clock.

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