Cristiano Ronaldo is coming off yet another stellar season, however, he will be disappointed that it has ended trophyless. The 2014-15 La Liga campaign has seen Ronaldo net 48 goals in 35 appearances. If it were not for the scintillating form of Barcelona’s front three – Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez – that would have probably been enough for Real Madrid to reclaim La Liga.
by Jan S0L0
Despite Messi being at 1/4 with bookmakers 32Red and Joe Jennings to reclaim his World Player of the Year crown, Ronaldo is still predicted to finish next season as La Liga’s top scorer. The differences between the two are tiny at best, and whenever there is talk that either of them are unhappy and have been linked with a move, it is hard not to fantasise over where.
Although we have no reason to think that Ronaldo will be leaving Real any time soon, it is hard to imagine him finishing his career at the Bernabeu. So who would be in with a shot of landing the Portuguese captain?
The obvious choice would be a return to Old Trafford. Ronaldo was adored by United fans and would be tempted to play in the Premier League once more. Angel Di Maria said in January that his former teammate was happy at Real Madrid and he could not foresee him moving to Manchester, but an unhappy Ronaldo may just be tempted by the bright lights, while Madrid may look to cash in whilst Ronaldo can command a hefty selling price. A returning Ronaldo to Manchester would have the LeBron James impact on United’s odds of league and European odds. Sites like Unibet and 32Red would be slashing them! Louis van Gaal is open to the idea whilst Manchester is still in the heart of Ronaldo, if he gets upset it will be Old Trafford where he returns.
However, there is also a chance that Ronaldo may want to leave Real Madrid due to him not thinking he is truly valued in monetary terms. Although he is pocketing a serious amount of money each week from his current employers, he may be tempted to seek pastures new and look for a tidy payday. That is something that City should now be able to do with the relaxing of Financial Fair Play Rules. They would have no issue in giving Ronaldo all the money he could want, in return for him being their marquee player. Could Ronaldo do that to United? You would think not, but football is a funny game.
Naturally, if City are out of the running your head, if not already, turns towards France. Paris St Germain have quickly assembled quite a squad, but a squad with limitations. There was another Ligue 1 title to celebrate this season, but what the owners want is success in Europe. Ronaldo is a Champions League winning player. Paris in itself has an allure. The thought of playing football there, enjoying a more leisurely type of domestic game, whilst just going into sixth gear in Europe may strike a chord with a more advancing-aged Ronaldo. The thought of playing in the French League should not be appealing to Ronaldo until he at least he reaches 32-years-old.
New York City
Man City could produce a Frank Lampard-style swoop, signing Ronaldo to their part-owned New York City FC and loan him back to themselves for a portion of the Premier League season, or the entirety. As they did with Lampard. Ronaldo will surely now start having one eye on the future. He has a look that could see him make the crossover, David Beckham style, into mainstream entertainment. There is no better place to start making inroads into that industry than America. Ronaldo has a penchant for fashion amongst other things, the Big Apple would allow him to develop his brand further. Moving to the MLS would give him more time to crack America properly, moving off the pitch and on to the screens.
There is a succinct possibility that Ronaldo will never leave Real Madrid. It is the side that he truly loves. His whole life was building towards Madrid and once he made it, he established himself as arguably the club’s finest player. Madrid won’t be wanting to make any rash decisions when it comes to their number seven’s future. The working relationship between Ronaldo and manager Carlo Ancelotti was a very good one, so the latter’s expected departure may cause a crack in his relationship with the club. There is also that interesting dynamic of whether he will be compatible with Rafael Benitez, the man many expect to take over from Ancelotti in the not too distant future. Benitez could be the key to Ronaldo uprooting or staying at the Bernabeu for at least the next two seasons.
Another favourite of the Bookmakers’ Player Specials section is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, with bookies like William Hill and Ladbrokes already speculating on the next destination for the Swede after a successful few years with PSG. Ladbrokes have Zlatan growing the ranks of Manchester United on odds of 2/1, and William Hill see offer 2/1 odds on Ibrahimovic playing in the Premier League. Wishful thinking?