Where will Cristiano Ronaldo go next?
Cristiano Ronaldo, considered as being one of the best footballers the world has seen, has been going through a lean patch of late. Although there is nothing wrong with him on the personal front, he has been having a tough time with his club Juventus FC, who were knocked out of the UEFA Champions League in the round of sixteen stage by their unlikely opponents Olympic Lyon last week. Ronaldo has had a brilliant season but now that it has come to an end, rumours have abounded that he may leave the side from Turin and look to go somewhere else where he can challenge to win major European trophies.
Born in Madeira, Portugal on 5 February 1985, Ronaldo has always elicited interest from those who have seen him. Right from a young age, he has shocked and surprised people with the potential he promised. After running a well-settled Manchester United side amok in a friendly early in the 2003 pre-season while turning up for his boyhood club Sporting CP, he was picked by the great Sir Alex Ferguson for a transfer to Old Trafford. He established himself as a legend in Manchester and the 84 goals in his six-year tenure he scored will stand testimony to that. Rarely had the Premier League seen a talent like him, who could confuse opposition defenders and make them look foolish.
THE MANCHESTER UNITED DAYS
He played with the defenders’ minds, befuddled them and later insulted them with goals scored from ridiculous distances. Ronaldo was also noted for his work ethic, and his ability to seek the ball if he or any of his teammates had by chance lost it, was what endeared him dearly with the Manchester United fans.
He won the Premier League thrice during his stay at Old Trafford, the English League Cup twice and the UEFA Champions League, the FA Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup once each.
Manager Sir Alex was extremely impressed by him and took him under his wings, so it is fair to say that the old man was a bit shaken when his ward told him that he wanted to leave Old Trafford in 2009.
MOVE TO THE SANTIAGO BERNABEU
Ronaldo felt that he had achieved everything he could in the Premier League, and went to Spanish La Liga heavyweights Real Madrid in search of new challenges in the 2009 summer transfer window. Signed by manager Manuel Pellegrini for a reported 94 million Euros, a lot was expected of Ronaldo that season and he did not disappoint, ending with a total of 33 goals and living up to his reputation. It was here at the Santiago Bernabeu that he achieved his most number of winners’ medals, having won the UEFA Champions League a staggering four times, the FIFA Club World Cup thrice and the Copa Del Rey and La Liga twice each. He scored a staggering 311 goals for the side from the capital of Spain in the nine years he stayed there and it was shocking, therefore, to see him make a move to Italian side Juventus FC in the 2018 summer transfer window, having just won the UEFA Champions League a month or so before by defeating Liverpool FC in the final.
THE SHOCK MOVE TO ITALY
Ronaldo was welcomed with open arms at Juventus by manager Massimiliano Allegri and his other teammates. In the two full seasons he has been in Turin so far, he has managed to win the Serie A on both occasions as well as the Coppa Del Rey in 2018/19. However, the lack of European glory must be rankling him, and the recent defeat to French side Olympic Lyon in the round of sixteen stage of the UEFA Champions League will sting him for sure. Manager Mauricio Sarri has been sacked after just one season in charge, and former Italy international Andrea Pirlo made the new boss. Although there has been nothing reported which speaks of any friction between the two, it is widely rumoured that the Portugal international may choose to move elsewhere. Pirlo will have his hands full at the moment as he seeks to rebuild Juventus by selling a host of players, and this is a situation that does not favour Ronaldo well.
He has been brilliant for the Old Lady this season, having netted 31 goals in the Serie A and five goals in the UEFA Champions League (a competition which he loves dearly).
He also has two goals in the Coppa Italia, which takes his tally to a whopping 37 for the season. Other attackers at the Allianz Stadium in Turin such as Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Douglas Costa are far behind him in the goalscoring charts, and this just goes to show how dependent Juventus FC are on Ronaldo. If he decides to leave, then new manager Pirlo will have a difficult time trying to fill the void, as there are very few players in the world who can replace someone like Cristiano Ronaldo.
WHERE WILL RONALDO GO NEXT?
Now that we have established that Ronaldo, in all possibility, is going to leave Juventus FC, what needs to be seen is where he could be headed next. Among the frontrunners for his signature are French giants Paris Saint Germain, and it is rumoured that Ronaldo himself will like to move to the capital of France and have a go at the Ligue 1. Paris Saint Germain are a brilliant side who have tasted glory in France over the years in almost every competition they take part in. They have won the Ligue 1 nine times, the Coupe de France thirteen times, the Coupe de la Ligue nine times and the Trophees des Champions nine times,the latter three of which are all records.
However, it has to be noted that Paris Saint Germain have not had any success in intra continental competitions, and have not won either the UEFA Champions League or the UEFA Europa League even once. This sticks out like a sore thumb in their resume and it is something that the club’s Qatari owners and manager Tuchel have been working on relentlessly to change.
Their European hopes will get a shot in the arm if Ronaldo decides to move there, boosting an already well-established lineup. It can also be said that Ronaldo himself will enjoy playing alongside the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr, Angel di Maria, Marco Veratti, Mauro Icardi and Thiago Silva. Their opponents are bound to start squeaking in their boots if a Paris Saint Germain front three of Ronaldo, Mbappe and Neymar are all playing together.
This means that the side from the Parc de Princes in Paris are very likely to persuade Ronaldo in moving from Italy. They have a lot to offer him. It can be said that with former striker Edinson Cavani now being a free agent and with the sale of several other non-essential players, Paris Saint Germain will also be able to afford his huge transfer sum and wage packet. The only thing that may deter Ronaldo from moving to France may be the fact that the Ligue 1 does not consist of too many top-class clubs and that domestic glory is often guaranteed for the men from Paris. Apart from a few sparks of brilliance from the likes of Olympic Lyon and AS Monaco, there are not too many teams who can compete on level terms with Paris Saint Germain on the field. If Ronaldo is looking for challenges apart from the obvious European one, then a move to Paris may not be the right call.
CAN MANCHESTER CITY LURE RONALDO?
There are not a lot of clubs who can afford Ronaldo’s wages but one who can are English heavyweights Manchester City. Managed by Pep Guardiola, the team from the blue half of Manchester may be keen on getting Ronaldo’s signature as he can offer them a lot. Adding Ronaldo to their rosters will considerably strengthen their squad, and since losing out on the Premier League this season to rivals Liverpool FC, manager Guardiola has been looking for reinforcements. Although Manchester City do have players such as Bernardo Silva and Riyad Mahrez who can play confidently on the right wing, one or both of them can be sold to accommodate him at the Etihad Stadium. Manager Guardiola has maintained that he is a big fan of the Portuguese and it remains to be seen if the Blues from Manchester pursue Ronaldo and try to persuade him to come.
He will like the fact that he will have both the Premier League and the UEFA Champions League to contend for here, with a well-settled squad and the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero forming attacking partnerships alongside him, who can blame him for getting tempted? However, what can stop him from making this move is the fact that he is an ex-Manchester United player. Ronaldo is a man of integrity and has been known to be true to his values. His respect towards Sir Alex Ferguson may also prevent him from coming back to Manchester and turning up for United’s bitter rivals City. So all said and done, it looks very likely that it is going to be Paris Saint Germain where Ronaldo will go if at all he decides to leave Turin.