Ronaldo has been frequently linked with a return to Manchester United in recent years.

Returning to Manchester United would be a backwards step for Cristiano Ronaldo

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It's a debate that has been hotting up over recent months: will current Ballon d'Or holder and Real Madrid's all-time top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, leave the Santiago Bernabeu next summer in search of a new challenge?

Manchester United fans will be hoping so and that he decides for a return to Old Trafford, but the argument remains whether the 30-year-old would want to live in the shadow of his past, when a promising teenager joined the club from Sporting Lisbon in 2003.

Or perhaps, in fact, whether Paris Saint-Germain, who have been linked with a £87 million move for the forward, would provide a competitive league for Ronaldo to perform in.


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For a man so competitive, with a hunger to constantly improve and challenge himself, it seemingly spells the end for the Portuguese at the Bernabeu, having broken endless records and scoring 48 goals in 35 La Liga appearances last season. To further fuel speculation, it seems Real aren't against the idea of letting their star man leave, too.

Rafael Benitez's relationship with the Portugal winger has become strained - even before the season had started, Ronaldo disagreed with an aspect of Real's training regime under the former Liverpool boss. However, that is not likely to be enough for Ronaldo to want to depart the Spanish capital for a club elsewhere in Europe.

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Despite being content at Madrid - and who wouldn't be - there is enough to believe the world's two best players may not be facing off against each other in El Clasico for much longer.

Ronaldo has often stated his love for United and refused to rule out returning to Manchester in the future. However, it's a backwards move for both the player and club.


United are trying to rebuild after the Alex Ferguson era and find the next generation of talent, as well as a manager who can return the club to dominance in the league and Europe. Resigning a 30-year-old Ronaldo, for what would be more than they sold him for, is a step the Red Devils should avoid, although hard to resist.

Arsenal v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Semi Final

Ronaldo is not getting any younger and Gareth Bale would arguably be the better option for United - a world-class winger at the peak of his career, the Welshman would help move the club onwards and upwards.

Aside from being linked with a United return, PSG are strong favourites for the Portuguese's signature, though a potential move would offer the same issue as that at Madrid.


An uncompetitive Ligue 1, bar AS Monaco and arguably Lyon, who are both 15 and ten points respectively behind PSG in the league to date, would make any personal achievements in the French capital undermined by lack of competition.


Smaller attendances than the likes of the Premier League, Bundesliga and La Liga isn't a stage that arguably the world's best player should be performing on.

A move to the Bundesliga hasn't been talked about, but perhaps it is there Ronaldo would be best off if he feels he has achieved all there is to accomplish in Madrid. Bayern Munich would be his best and most likely option, but it doesn't seem the Portugal international is interested in a move to the Bundesliga.


Bayern, being one of Europe's biggest clubs outside of England and Spain, while providing one of the most competitive leagues in world football, would arguably be the next big step for the forward.

Sevilla FC v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

Ronaldo has no reason to leave Real, though. The fans love him, he loves the club and is continuing to break records, while he could further escalate himself as the club's best player of all time.

But it is all down to the man himself and what else he wants to achieve in his career. For a man of his excellence, it's perhaps time to look for ventures elsewhere, but if he wishes to maintain being one of the top two players in world football, United and PSG should be avoided.

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Premier League
Manchester United
Cristiano Ronaldo

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