Is Cristiano Ronaldo Leaving Real Madrid?

by Taylor Smith
on June 19, 2017

Shocking reports emerged from Portugal on Friday that indicate Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave the club. Ronaldo has reportedly soured on his current situation after news broke earlier in the week claiming Ronaldo owes around $13 million in unpaid taxes. Ronaldo is reportedly upset that Real haven’t really come to his defense in the matter, and Portuguese newspaper A Bola claims Ronaldo has already made his desire to leave known to club president Florentino Perez.

We have no idea whether there is actually fire underneath all this smoke, but the timing does make some sense. Ronaldo has literally accomplished everything he possibly could have since joining the Spanish giants several years ago. He’s won multiple Champions League and La Liga titles while adding several Ballon d’Or trophies to his mantle, as well. A change of scenery could serve him well.

As you may imagine, bookmakers have wasted no time in drawing up odds for Ronaldo’s potential next club. His old team, Manchester United, are predictably favored, but punters can also find some excellent prices on some rather unlikely destinations. Courtesy of Sky Bet, here are a few of the potential landing spots for the world’s most famous athlete.

Manchester United 7/4

United smashed a transfer record last summer when they lured French phenom Paul Pogba back from Serie A. Could this news mean they’re set to break the bank again for another player that used to wear their shirt? Ronaldo has made no secret of his affection for Manchester United in recent years, and he won his first Ballon d’Or with the Red Devils back in 2008.

Earlier this month, Ronaldo said that he misses Old Trafford and the Premier League in general. He’s 32 now, but he hasn’t shown many serious signs of slowing down. The club recently released injured forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, so clearly they’ll be in the market to add a goal scoring striker during the summer. Who better than Ronaldo, who bagged 56 goals in all competitions for Madrid this past season.

Considering United struggled to put the ball in the back of the net, it would certainly help to add a player of Ronaldo’s caliber. He may not be the guy he was at the peak of his athletic powers, but the results are there nevertheless. If Ronaldo is to leave Madrid, United makes all the sense in the world as his landing spot. They have the funds to get the move done as well as a gaping hole at his position.

Paris Saint-Germain 11/2

Speaking of Zlatan’s former clubs, Paris Saint-Germain could come calling if Ronaldo doesn’t wind up back in Manchester. PSG’s run atop Ligue 1 ended last season when Monaco jumped them in the table, and the French giants will be eager to resume their rightful place at the top. They lacked a true threat in front of goal other than Edinson Cavani last season, and Ronaldo could theoretically step in and replace Ibrahimovic’s void a season later.

There’s no question PSG could afford the hefty price Ronaldo would command. They’re one of the richest clubs in the world and have shown no hesitation to break the bank for world-class talent in the past. Paris reportedly held talks with Real regarding Ronaldo’s potential availability back during the 2015-16 campaign, though no transfer materialized. It would make plenty of sense for the two sides to get back to the negotiating table if Ronaldo is to leave Spain this summer.

It also doesn’t hurt that PSG have a lifetime manufacturing contract with Nike, who happens to be Ronaldo’s main sponsor. This probably shouldn’t realistically come into play, but it’s still worth noting. PSG are desperate to get back to the top of Ligue 1 and to finally make serious headway in Champions League. If they are to do so, adding Ronaldo would be a huge step in the right direction. They’re rightfully just behind Manchester United here.

Any Chinese Super League club 20/1

This one is certainly a longshot. Ronaldo is obsessed with the spotlight, and a move to the growing Chinese league would close him off to a huge chunk of the world soccer stage. China is no small market, of course, so he would be opening himself up to a new swath of fans. Regardless, it’s hard to imagine Ronaldo wanting to shun the cameras and move to some random Chinese club.

Plenty of teams in the league have the financial wherewithal to swing a deal, however. Former Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez signed with Shanghai Shenhua recently and became the world’s highest-paid player at more than $600,000 a week. Former Chelsea midfielder Oscar also followed the money with Shanghai SIPG. If it’s money Ronaldo is interested in, China is probably the best option.

This ain’t happening, though. Let’s move along here.

Any MLS club 20/1

Hmm…now things are getting interesting. It’s hard to imagine Ronaldo coming to the United States right now, but if he wants spotlights, there is no better option than the good ol’ USA. Major League Soccer often draws ridicule for its supposed lack of top-tier play, but the league’s quality is rapidly improving. Rather than having a bunch of recognizable names coming over in their late-30s, the league is now starting to attract talented players in the midst of their respective primes.

Ronaldo was asked about the possibility of moving to MLS last year, and said, “Maybe in the future will be a good chance. You never know, but it’s something interesting.”

If I had to bet money on Ronaldo suiting up for an MLS club at some point before he hangs up the cleats, I absolutely would do so. He can come over to the States and become the brightest star in the relatively brief history of the league immediately. Bigger than David Beckham, to be sure.

There’s a new club in Los Angeles set to begin play in 2018. They’re ready to spend whatever it takes to attract stars, so why not start with the biggest name of them all? The hindrance here, though, is that Ronaldo obviously isn’t going to be taking a year off before playing for LAFC. We need to find him a home for next season. MLS is a bet we can revisit next summer.

Stay with Real Madrid 8/13

Clearly, this is the most likely outcome here. Real don’t really have major impetus to part ways with Ronaldo right now. Assuming this tax stuff blows over and he calms down, he’ll probably come to his senses and realize that sticking with Los Blancos is what’s best for him in the immediate future. They’re going to enter next season as favorites to three-peat in Champions League. What more can he want?

We hear news of players wanting to leave certain teams all the time, yet how often do moves actually come to pass? Ronaldo is Real’s all-time leading scorer, which is no small feat. He has scored 406 times in just 394 games with the club. Watching him leave after winning everything with the club again last season would send shockwaves through European soccer as we know it.

It’s certainly not impossible, but the smart money is with Ronaldo staying with Real, for now.
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