A report from the French media has claimed that a host of clubs in Europe, and Major League Soccer, are lining up lucrative bids to lure Cristiano Ronaldo away from the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Real Madrid superstar, 30, is said to be unhappy with life at Real under new manager Rafael Benitez and Le10Sport claims that there will be a race to sign Ronaldo at the end of the season with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and multiple MLS clubs involved.
Look, it’s not look we haven’t heard these rumors of a Ronaldo exit before. Because we have, multiple times in the past 12 months.
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Yet there seems to be something slightly different about these latest rumors. Ronaldo continues to break records left, right and center and is making huge wads of cash at Real as he continues his personal duel with Lionel Messi in La Liga and on the European stage. However, these stories about his unrest and not getting on with Benitez continue to surface.
Consider this. How likely are Real to sell their prized asset to another team battling with them — in this case, Manchester United and PSG — for European supremacy? Not likely. But, what about shipping Ronaldo off to MLS at the end of the current season? That would seem like the more attractive offer if Real was to cash in on Ronaldo, despite the Portuguese forward having two more years left on his current deal in the Spanish capital.
Now, before any fans of MLS start adding “Ronaldo, 7” to the back of their jerseys (hold your horses, LA Galaxy, New York City FC and potential Miami franchise fans) let’s consider this Ronaldo to MLS chatter. Number one: can the league or any club afford to buy out his current release clause of $1.5 billion? Nope. Of course, a deal would be cut, but Real would probably want a record transfer fee to sell Ronaldo, so that’s in-excess of $132 million, just to get the player, not including his wages. Number two: Ronaldo is 30. For many, he is in his prime and to leave a club like Real for MLS at this stage of his career, despite winning everything there is to win in European soccer both with his club team and personally, just doesn’t seem likely. Number three: the lure of United. There’s something there, isn’t there? Ronaldo is adored by United’s fans, even after leaving, and vice versa. Personally, I can see him ending up at Old Trafford for a few years, then heading to MLS at the age of 34, 35, as the likes of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard have done. Heck, with his supreme physical abilities, what’s to stop Ronaldo from playing at the top level in Europe for another seven to eight years a la Didier Drogba, then head to MLS?
In short, don’t expect to see Ronaldo in MLS anytime soon. But go about your business safe in the knowledge that its almost a certainty that one day, one of the greatest players that has ever lived will be lacing up his cleats in North America’s top flight. I can’t 100 percent guarantee you that, but with his image, the growing brand of MLS and the money that would be on offer for one final payday after his powers have faded in Europe, how could Ronaldo say no to ending his career in California, NYC or Florida?