Friday 20 October 2017 / 01:42 AM

IS RONALDO LEAVING REAL MADRID?

You’ve probably heard the rumour: Cristiano Ronaldo “wants out” at Real Madrid.

The Portuguese superstar is said to be after a new challenge, and will supposedly tell Madrid that he wants to leave the Bernabeu this summer.

Whether these rumours have anything to do with the tax fraud allegations thrown Ronaldo’s way remain to be seen, but given how quickly this speculation has blown up, it seems likely that there is a least some truth in it.

So the question is: if Ronaldo was to leave, where would he go?

Realistically, the answer will be largely based around who can afford him.

Despite being relatively close to the end of his career, Ronaldo is still likely to command an exorbitant transfer fee, which prices out most clubs right away.

Leaving…

Manchester City, Chelsea, PSG and Manchester United.

(Barcelona would also be able to afford him, but I can’t be alone in thinking that this is so unlikely that it’s not worth considering)

On the face of it, it seems unlikely that Ronaldo would go to City, given his past with the club across town, but if Guardiola was able to convince the forward of what he is trying to do at the club, and get his buy-in, then it’s certain that the Citizens have both the bank and the balls to pull the move off (just look at Carlos Tevez).

Chelsea is another option, and with it seemingly certain that Diego Costa is departing Stamford Bridge, there may well be a space for a prodigiously talented prima donna in West London.

The only thing that makes me think this is unlikely to happen is that Chelsea have yet to be drawn into a transfer of this size. They bought Fernando Torres for £50 million, but since getting their fingers burnt there, they’ve generally kept their purchase south of that figure. With Ronaldo like to cost at least twice that, Chelsea may well consider themselves out of the race.

In my mind, PSG are the second-most likely club to end up buying Ronaldo. They’ve got buckets of money, they’re in the Champions League, and it’s clear that they’re willing to pay huge wages and huge transfer fees.

And all this would add up to it being pretty likely that the player will end up in Paris, if it wasn’t for…

Manchester United. The club where Ronaldo honed his skill. The club where he became a world great. The club that adores him still, eight years after his departure.

What was clear from the Football Rich List published a couple of weeks ago is that Manchester United are not short of a bob or two. Far from it. Instead, they’re one of the richest clubs, and could easily pay Ronaldo’s wages (especially with Zlatan and Rooney off their books), while a transfer fee would be swiftly neutralised by the amount of merchandise they’d sell.

In short, United seems to be Ronaldo’s most likely destination. Will he go there? If he wants to, and Mourinho sees a place for him, it’ll happen.

But who knows? Only time will tell. But one thing I can say is that as a Premier League fan, having Ronaldo back truly would be magical, and wherever he ends up, I hope it’s somewhere in England.

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About the author

Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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