Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Real Madrid; we’ve all heard that one before…


Almost a fortnight ago, Real Madrid beat Liverpool 3-1 to lift the UEFA Champions League trophy, the third time in a row, the fourth time in five years and the thirteenth time in the history of the club. Immediately after the match in Kiev, not only did Gareth Bale suggest his future would be looked at this summer but Cristiano Ronaldo told the world that he had a decision to make. We have all heard that one before.

This summer will mark nine years since Ronaldo left Old Trafford for the Santiago Bernabeu in an £80 million deal, which at that time was seen as a great fee for the player but considering everything that he has won and achieved at Real Madrid and the player he became, years later it does not look so much like the good deal it was once described. Ronaldo is a great player, has had a great career and after a turbulent season in the Spanish capital, it ended with the player rising up and showing his critics that he still had something left in the tank.

Ronaldo started his career at Sporting CP, initially playing for the B team in the 2002/03 season, playing twice. He then found himself playing for the senior team, playing 31 times and scoring five goals. It was that season that Sir Alex Ferguson saw Ronaldo, playing against United in the Champions League. That summer, when David Beckham left the club for Real Madrid, Ronaldo was brought into the club, effectively replacing him and wearing the famous number seven shirt.

In six seasons at United, Ronaldo played a total of 292 times, scoring 118 goals, which at his age was an achievement. It was expected that he would leave the club in the summer of 2008 after United won the Premier League and Champions League double, but Ferguson ensured he stayed for one more season, a season which ended with United being beaten in the Champions League final in Rome at the hands of Barcelona.

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Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 with £80 million paid for the player. United brought in Antonio Valencia and Michael Owen as his replacements, which did not work as well as some might have imagined. Ronaldo has been Madrid’s star player for nine seasons now and has achieved all he could possibly want to, winning La Liga twice, the Copa del Rey twice, the Supercopa de España twice, the UEFA Champions League four times, the UEFA Super Cup twice and the FIFA Club World Cup three times.

All that on top of the glory he helped United achieve; the Premier League three times, one FA Cup, two League Cups, one FA Community Shield, one UEFA Champions League trophy, and one FIFA Club World Cup. When you look at everything he has achieved for both United and Real Madrid, a total of 24 major honours, not to mention his goalscoring ability, scoring a total of 450 goals in 438 competitive appearances for his club, you see the player that Cristino Ronaldo has become. A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, maybe a sixth incoming later this year?

Would any Manchester United supporter want him back at the Theatre of Dreams? Hell yes. Of course they would want him back. However, at 33, the money he would cost added to the massive wage he would demand, it makes you wonder if it would be worth it. Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed for Manchester United at the age of 35, as a free agent, commanding a big wage. Most wrote him off as being past it, which after scoring 27 goals in his first season, which was curtailed due to injury, they realised he was still a class act.

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Ronaldo could have the same injection of that winning mentality that Ibrahimovic brought to the club but he would not be a player who would continue last forever as his body will catch up with his age at some point in the future. It is what a player like Ronaldo would bring to the club that most will be interested in. The fame, the advertising revenue, the selling of shirts and other merchandise. It will all be a winner for any club around the world. Ronaldo has previously stated that he feels he could play until he is 40, a big feat if he does that.

It has been talked about for weeks now that Ronaldo and Madrid are no longer in full wedded bliss. It has been reported recently that Ronaldo had requested negotiations with Real Madrid over a £1.35million-a-week contract, which by reading the speculation, is not something the Champions League holders want to negotiate. Ronaldo has previously used Manchester United’s interest to get what he wanted to Real Madrid. There was speculation in 2013 that Ronaldo was coming home to Manchester, but it did not happen. A new contract did, though.

Ronaldo last signed a new contract 0n the 6th November 2016, which would keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until the summer of 2021. That fact that less than two years after signing his last contract, the player wants more money suggests that it is a major motive of the player. Lionel Messi reportedly receives £673,000 per week and Neymar being paid £619,000 per week. Ronaldo’s contract puts him at around £350,000 per week, still a long way short of the duo who with Ronaldo, make up the three best players in the world right now.

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It is stated that Ronaldo believed that he was promised a salary which would reflect the current market last summer, which so far has not been forthcoming. Is a footballer worth as much as this though? Ronaldo is a great player and wage should reflect the ability, progression and the success of the footballer, but more than £1 million per week is preposterous. It is now being reported that United would consider a ‘heavy investment’ to bring Ronaldo home, albeit five years after that was first a topic of discussion.

Personally, I don’t see much happening here, other than journalists writing columns about the potential move, posturing of the two clubs and the player gaining even more popularity from the speculation. A player who is subject to a ‘transfer tussle’ is one who will be motivated, especially heading into the FIFA World Cup in Russia this summer, with Ronaldo captaining Portugal, who go into the tournament as the holders of the UEFA European Championship, which was won in France in the summer of 2016.

If you look on Twitter, there are many ITK accounts also posturing a potential deal, giving information about the fees, the length of contract, even that United want the deal done before the World Cup, which starts a week today with teams already starting to travel to Russia to check in at their respective training locations ahead of their first game of the tournament. I cannot see anything happening before the World Cup, it has taken United more than a fortnight to sign two players, one of whom has not yet been announced as a United player.

One thing I do see happening though is Ronaldo remaining a Real Madrid player, signing a new long-term contract, receiving more money and turning his back on Manchester United one again. I would like to see Ronaldo play for United again, so would many other supporters. But based on the years post-Sir Alex Ferguson, Ronaldo’s return was touted so many times, which always resulted in the player signing a new contract. It has happened before and can happen again. Doing that again will ensure that Cristiano Ronaldo remains the boy who cried wolf.

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