Following the difficult to stomach “El Clasico” loss to Barcelona over the weekend, transfer speculation has ramped up significantly around Real Madrid and in particular superstars Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale. Los Blancos fell to archrival Barcelona 2-1, and the perceived fallout, coupled with listless performances, has linked Ronaldo to a transfer away from the Bernabeu.
A number of the world’s top clubs have been linked to the 30-year-old Ballon d’Or winner for months, but speculation has increased after analyst Graham Hunter said Manchester City players openly discussed their anticipation of a major bid for Ronaldo’s services this summer.
"I know that the players at Manchester City were talking very, very firmly that they believed there was a successful move coming from that club over the last couple of weeks," Hunter during a recent appearance on Revista de La Liga.
"Whether that makes it true or not, I wouldn't like to say. What we know is the mega clubs, with petrodollars, there's never been a better time to say: 'Well, would you like to cash in on your chips?'"
Already blessed with such talented forwards like Wilfried Bony and Sergio Aguero, the possible addition of Ronaldo would make City one of the most feared clubs both domestically and in Champions League contention, and would immediately boost the club's international prestige. It would also be a highly provocative move considering Ronaldo is a former member of City's local rival United.
The reigning Premier League champions sit six points back of first-place Chelsea, despite scoring one more goal than the Stamford Bridge side. City are expected to make some major moves to bolster the roster this summer to compete with Chelsea.
Already one of the highest earning athletes in the world, Ronaldo’s rated as high as £105 million and Madrid is highly unlikely to ask for anything less than a new record fee for a player still in the heart of his prime years.
A return to Premier League, six years after Madrid pried him away from Manchester United, could be in the cards, but as Hunter stated, any movement will begin and end with Ronaldo’s desires.
As for Bale, who’s been on the receiving end of major criticism from the Spanish media and with English reporters openly calling for him to return to Premier League, he’s also been tied to City and United.
However, the Welshman is apparently “determined not to be forced out” of Madrid, according to Daily Mirror. Supporters attacked Bale’s car after the loss to the Catalans placed Madrid four points back of first place in La Liga, a drop no one expected after the club’s roaring start to the term.
Bale is currently rated at £70.4 million, a slight dip from the record £86 million Madrid shelled out to acquire him from Tottenham in 2013, but its believed his style of play might be better suited back in England.
United are more than likely set on allowing Radamel Falcao to return to Monaco next term after a disappointing and injury-plagued year for the Colombian. Any savings from Falcao's departure would assuredly go to an expensive fee for Bale.