Could Cristiano Ronaldo, the man voted the world’s best player for the past two years, really leave Real Madrid this summer? It’s a question that continues to be raised by incessant speculation over the Portuguese’s future. According to a new poll conducted by Madrid-based publication AS, nearly half of Real Madrid fans would be happy to see the club’s second-highest scorer in history leave the Bernabeu for a fee of between €100 million and €150 million.
According to reports, there is a club willing and able to spend such lofty figures in order to prize Ronaldo away. Paris Saint-Germain, funded by Qatar Sports Investments, are believed to be prepared to pay €125 million-plus meet his huge salary demands. A recent story in The Telegraph has stated that potentially the most lucrative transfer in history will be dependent on whether PSG sell off their current highest earner Zlatan Ibrahimovic and if UEFA, as expected, ease the Financial Fair Play rules that have restricted the French champions’ spending.
A deal may appeal to Real Madrid, with the chance to recoup a huge sum for a player who will have little re-sale value in a couple of years, and potentially hand the keys of the team to the player they have invested so much in -- Gareth Bale.
It would still appear, as a report in Spain suggested last week, that the transfer is more likely to happen next summer rather than this year. Ibrahimovic has a year remaining on his contract and so looks set to leave along with his salary in 12 months’ time. And Ronaldo has three years left on his current deal, meaning it will be in a year’s time that he will enter the key negotiation period. Ronaldo may be far more inclined to seek a move then if Real Madrid were to end another season trophy-less. By that point, he would also have surely overtaken Raul to become the club’s record goalscorer.
It remains to be seen, though, whether Ronaldo would want to take his talents to Paris. The Telegraph reports states that he would, although it would undoubtedly be a step down in terms of the quality of the domestic league. While PSG have a lofty status and some world stars in their squad, it cannot take away from the fact that Ligue 1 lacks the strength in depth of La Liga or the English Premier League. Ronaldo is, perhaps more than any other player in the world, a man who wants to prove himself as the best around and garner the attention. And, while the Paris lifestyle may appeal to him, he will have less opportunity to showcase his talents on a global stage.
Likewise, while the challenge of delivering PSG their first ever Champions League crown may be enticing, the lack of competition on a weekly basis in the league would surely be difficult, at least initially, for him to adjust to.
There also remains the prospect of a possible return to Manchester United. Before the 30-year-old renewed his last contract two years ago, United were pursuing ways to re-sign the player they sold for €94 million in 2009. Meanwhile, Ronaldo made no secret of the fondness he still holds for the club where he developed into one of the world’s best players. Still, it remains to be seen how much of that affections remains after the departure of mentor Sir Alex Ferguson, and, whether United, despite loosening the purse strings of late, would be willing to spend such a huge amount on a player over the age of 30,
But whatever happens, the attention looks set to focus on Ronaldo even more than usual in the coming weeks and months.