What would Cristiano Ronaldo mean to Man City, Premier League, and Champions League?


Multiple reports say Cristiano Ronaldo is on the move to Manchester City, one day after Harry Kane ruled himself out of a summer move.

Portuguese journalist Goncalo Lopes says that super agent Jorge Mendes has convinced Ronaldo to spurn his hesitancy to sign with Manchester United’s hated rival.

[ REPORT: Ronaldo agrees terms with Man City ]

Lopes says that Ronaldo views Man City is “his best chance” to win another Champions League before heading to Major League Soccer.

Apparently Ronaldo is willing to let Real Madrid, Sporting CP, and Portugal fans be the only ones who remember him fondly.

Fabrizio Romano had reported that Juventus met with Mendes earlier Thursday.

Man City doesn’t want to pay for Ronaldo while Juventus wants his salary off the books but is said to want a fee.

Ultimately, Man City is in the catbird seat here.

But what would a Ronaldo move to the Premier League mean aside from a new level of intensity to the Manchester derby.

What would this signing mean for Man City?

Ronaldo is a finisher, plain and simple.

Even at his advanced age, the Portuguese living legend ranks very high in most finishing categories.

Using the site FBRef.com, which compares players to their positional peers in the top five leagues in Europe, here’s where Ronaldo sits over the last 365 days.

Non-penalty expected goals + assists per 90min:  90th percentile

Shots: 99th percentile

Assists: 11th percentile

Progressive passes: 78th percentile

Progressive carries: 98th percentile

Dribbles completed: 84th percentile

How does this compare to some of his notable peers and the main man he’d replace? We used FBRef again to weigh some of those numbers against Lionel Messi, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Romelu Lukaku, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Of the six men:

  • Ronaldo ranks second in non-penalty goals (Messi).
  • Only Messi takes more shots per game.
  • Aguero, Lukaku, and Messi all are well clear of Ronaldo in shots on target percentage.
  • He’s behind Messi and Aguero in passing percentage.
  • He’s 0.01 above Kane in non-penalty xG+xA over 90 minutes, but well behind Messi and notably behind Lukaku.

So in the short-term, Man City is getting a finisher on the same level as Kane but quite behind the Spurs star as well as Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku in possession, assists, and work off the ball.

Ronaldo is also going to have to adjust to a team-first system and an attack that does not center around him.

Remember just this week when Guardiola praised Gabriel Jesus for never complaining and always accepting his role?

Ronaldo has been the man on every team he’s played on since leaving Manchester United. Portuguese teammates Bernardo Silva and Ruben Dias will be among those to tell Ronaldo what to expect from Guardiola and he’ll buy into the idea of Man City to start, but how will he react when things don’t go his way?

Photo by Burak Akbulut/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
“You go, mate. I’ll stay behind.” (Cue “My Heart Will Go On”) Photo: Getty Images

What about Juventus?

That’s a big and good question.

First off, we’d need to know how much money The Old Lady would be getting for Ronaldo or at least what they’d invest in a replacement.

Paolo Dybala is a heck of a striker and Alvaro Morata works well with the Argentine. Dejan Kulusevski is on track to become of the world’s best playmakers and Federico Chiesa has shown his class time and again. There’s also hope for teenage Santos import Kaio Jorge.

So the cupboard is not bare, but even accounting for his whopping amount of penalties, he’s still a player who scored non-PK goals in essentially two out of three matches.

It’s a big ask.

Would Man City be the favorites to win Premier League, Champions League

In a word, yes.

But we know that Man City has never won the European Cup and that Chelsea’s shown a particular edge against City since Thomas Tuchel took over at Stamford Bridge.

Liverpool’s also played quite well against Man City, though Ronaldo’s had its number at at least one point.

Oddly enough, their depth means they might be more favorites to win the UCL than the Premier League, but consider this absurd lineup:


Walker — Dias — Laporte — Zinchenko


Sterling — Bernardo — De Bruyne — Grealish