If — and it’s a massive, world-bending if — Cristiano Ronaldo really were to leave Real Madrid, fueled by anger at more tax evasion talk, what would follow?
The ramifications are almost too much to comprehend. Players of his caliber don’t often swap clubs while still in their primes. Granted Ronaldo is nearing the end of his unless he has Jaromir Jagr DNA, but there’s little questioning that he’s still performing at an outstanding level and is one of the greatest players of all time.
The money — Cristiano Ronaldo has a buyout clause of reportedly $1.1 billion. It’s difficult to imagine that any team would meet that nor that Madrid would enforce it if their top player demanded to leave the country, but it’s possible.
Yet even if Ronaldo brought in half that fee, Real would unsettle any number of clubs in the world by offering incredible wages to land their best players. The transfer record that fell courtesy of Ronaldo’s sale may even be tempted as Real chased players like Eden Hazard, Robert Lewandowski, Alexis Sanchez, Harry Kane, Dele Alli, et cetera.
The trickle down of that, should those players leave for Madrid, could shake some of the top clubs to their core (at least in the short term).
The destination — The landing spots for Ronaldo are limited thanks to his wages and renown. Where could he go?
- Manchester United — An Old Trafford return has been rumored for years. Any club would gain a lot of dough from the sale of Ronaldo gear, but United would instantly have the top selling everything in the world. It’s difficult to imagine Ronaldo joining any other Premier League club.
- Paris Saint-Germain — Les Parisiens would make plenty of sense given their first year without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who had massive success in Ligue 1 at the same age and freak of nature style as Ronaldo. Their accomplishments have yet to meet their ambition. Ronaldo would help.
- Bayern Munich — The Bavarians could offer several significant assets to help offset any move, and Ronaldo has spoken of his desire to work with Carlo Ancelotti again at some point in his career.
- Chinese Super League — China’s aim to build a global power in soccer knows no bounds, and it would not be shocking to see a world record offer which could stand for a decade should Ronaldo have interest in leaving Europe. The idea of his agents wanting him outside Europe is a little unrealistic, but money does talk.
And who are they getting?