TRANSFER: Where next for Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018?

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Transfer: Where next for Cristiano Ronaldo

Per the recent comments by Cristiano Ronaldo, it is only safe to assume that it is the beginning of the end of his spell at Real Madrid.

It’s been eight years and a few months since a 24-year-old Madeira-born winger laced-up, donned a Blanco shirt with the number 9 at his back, and made his way through the sacred tunnel of the Santiago Bernabeu to grace the multitude of fans in the cauldron with his presence.

Joining at a time when the Merengues were being dominated by Barcelona and had almost lost their image as a real force in the European football sphere, the marriage was simply one made in heaven. Just like every matrimony, there were and have been snags here and there but all these are almost made nonexistent when his contributions to the team’s successes as well as his personal achievements take center stage in the frame.

Ronaldo record transfer move
Ronaldo being unveiled at the Santiago Bernabeu after his €94 million move from Manchester United

With consistency, hard work, dedication, and the incredible zeal to reach the pinnacle of the beautiful game, the Portuguese striker has played a vital role in his side winning three UEFA Champions Leagues and two La Liga trophies in his stay with the Spanish capital side. What now, one may ask.

The Declarations

Following Real Madrid’s shocking 3:1 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur in the group-stage encounter of the UEFA Champions League early on this November, the four-time Ballon d’Or winner made a rather unexpected declaration about his future with Los Blancos. Perhaps, being unable to contain his frustrations, the 32-year-old forward bluntly declared to beIN Sport in a ‘flash interview’: “I don’t want to renew.”

Cristiano Ronaldo fails to score in Madrid Derby
Cristiano Ronaldo has endured some frustrating spells this season

Prior to that interview, the former Manchester United man, after scoring a brace on his 400th Madrid appearance that aided his side to a 3-1 Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund in September, categorically stated that any question regarding his contract extension should be directed to his side’s president Florentino Perez.

This chain of events was preceded by strong rumors in the summer that suggested that the 2017 Ballon d’Or-elect was ready for a new adventure outside the Spanish capital due to his continued unhappiness amid his tax evasion saga. Nonetheless, in the end, a resolution was reached with Mr. Perez and the Euro 2016 winner welcomed the idea of putting on the all White jersey once more. But that was certainly just the start of Real Madrid’s issues. Well…

Bale, Benzema AWOL… Isco and Asensio to force Ronaldo out?

The first and foremost issue to address is Cristiano’s relationship with his teammates. Over the years, the ace forward has been acquainted with some great Real Madrid players but those connections were short-lived as the Spanish club ended up trading most of these players. Di Maria, Ozil, Coentrao, Pepe, to list a few, were all shown the exit door with some happening under controversial circumstances.

Amigos…

Although Los Blancos’ all-time goalscorer occasionally spoke against some of these transfers, he remained professional and went about his duties. That withstanding, his relationship with Marcelo, Bale, and Benzema, has played a remarkable role in his personal successes and his team’s in general.

Nonetheless, with Karim Benzema’s position and duty coming under scrutiny and Gareth Bale spending more time on the hospital bed than on the field, there is a cause for concern considering they have both tested the patience of the club for way too long and, as a result, can be sold at any time. The implication, in turn, will be Cristiano Ronaldo being left in the company of the new boys on the block, Isco, and Asensio.

Despite the fact that these two players try to play alongside Los Merengue’s poster boy, the general impression among most fans which in some sense is valid is that they do not vibe well with CR7. So what is the point in sticking around if one’s presence is not acknowledged?

Cristiano Ronaldo to PSG? Neymar to Real Madrid?…

Moving on, a new development earlier this month suggested that PSG’s mega-signing of the summer, Neymar Jr, may be making a U-turn to La Liga and will be joining no other club than the fiercest rival of his former side Barcelona, Real Madrid. According to Mundo Deportivo, the player’s father reportedly met with Florentino Perez to discuss the possibility of his son replacing Cristiano Ronaldo when his contract expires in 2021.

However, that might not happen as the 25-year-old openly refuted the idea in a presser after helping PSG demolish Celtic in their mid-week UEFA Champions League game. In a reversal of roles, the prospect of Cristiano Ronaldo also joining the Brazilian showstopper now seems like a far-fetched fantasy.

Despite PSG having consistently harassed the 32-year-old Real Madrid star with offers over the years, the ship that would have conveyed him to Paris seems to be sailing away slowly upon the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. The French side broke the bank and rattled the Financial Fair Play regulations to tie down these two exciting talents and, as such, may not be in the best position to dish out huge stacks of money for yet another big name.

After spending 418 million euros this summer – including the fee for Mbappe, PSG is expected to make player sales in January to stay within the FFP’s regulations in order to avoid very harsh punishment proposed by UEFA. This, as a result, nullifies the idea of them acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo anytime soon if ever.

Neymar and Mbappe playing for PSG
Neymar and Mbappe cost PSG a total of 418 million euros this summer

Reunion?

Perusing another scenario, the next possible avenue for the Best FIFA Men’s Player of The Year will be a reunion with his old team Manchester United if he indeed does not extend his contract past 2021 or decides to leave next summer. Ever since leaving the Old Trafford outfit, Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a move back.

The Red Devils have been in a transition since Sir Alex Ferguson retired and despite the overhaul and reinforcement, the English club is yet to actually find the balance that will propel them to compete against the household names in European football.

The real question, however, is that if Cristiano Ronaldo indeed allows his contract to run down, will his 36-year-old self possess the firepower to lead Manchester United’s attack? Will he also be willing to open an intriguing chapter he has already closed knowing that there is a risk of tainting his legacy if he performs below expectations? That is definitely a story to tell some other time.

Manchester United squad
Can Cristiano Ronaldo take the Red Devils back to their glory days if he joins?

Considering all the above, what might possibly be the best resolution and perfect route to take will be for the Real Madrid ace to join his boyhood club Sporting C. P. However, the attractiveness, quality, and competitiveness of the Portuguese league at the moment may not motivate the Madeira-born superstar to abdicate La Liga anytime soon having stated his desire to play until he is 40.

MADRID, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 14: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid in action during the UEFA Champions League Group F match between Real Madrid CF and Sporting Clube de Portugal on September 14, 2016 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Helios de la Rubia/Real Madrid via Getty Images)
Cristiano in action against Sporting last season

So, where will the next chapter of the Adventures of Cristiano Ronaldo be written?

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