Will this be Cristiano Ronaldo’s final season at Real Madrid?
During the first half of the campaign, many people predicted it would be. It seemed to make sense for a whole host of reasons, particularly after the three-time Ballon d’Or winner became the club’s all-time top goalscorer back in October. What else could he possibly hope to achieve at the Bernabeu?
Paris Saint-Germain were the team reportedly at the front of the queue to sign Ronaldo and speculation intensified after the forward was seen whispering into the ear of PSG boss Laurent Blanc after a Champions League group stage match in November.
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“Your team play very well. I would love to work with you,” Ronaldo was quoted to have told Blanc by French newspaper La Parisien.
This was subsequently denied by Ronaldo - albeit not until a month later, when he revealed he had thanked the French coach for speaking highly of him in the press.
By this point, Ronaldo may have already been backtracking, fearing that PSG no longer wanted to secure his services.
Balague: Ronaldo thinks nobody wants him
According to Sky Sports’ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague, Ronaldo believes no club wants to sign him for one reason: he costs too much money for his age.
“Cristiano thinks that nobody wants him,” Balague told Sky Sports today, “and the reason is that he costs too much at his age.
“Cristiano and Real at the beginning of the season were thinking of parting company, but now it is much more complicated.”
Perez: PSG must pay €1bn for Ronaldo
Earlier this season, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez told reporters - per ESPN - that it would cost PSG €1 billion to sign Ronaldo.
"Here in Spain everybody has it easy because, unlike in England, a release clause exists. If you want to sign a player you pay his buyout clause and get him,” Perez was quoted as telling Cadena Cope.
"In the case of Cristiano it's €1,000m [£725m]. If they don't pay that, they don't want him. Whenever I've wanted a player, I've gone for him paying the release clause."
Ronaldo would cost less - but his wages are huge
Real Madrid, given the fact Ronaldo turned 31 last month and is becoming less influential in big matches, would almost certainly accept significantly less than that.
In fact, it’s likely that the Portuguese superstar’s next employers wouldn’t need to break the world transfer record to sign him.
What makes the deal too expensive for 99 per cent of clubs is his astronomical wages.
According to a report in the Mirror last month, Ronaldo - on a massive £288,000-a-week - is the highest-paid footballer on the planet.
It’s safe to assume the former Manchester United star wouldn’t be willing to accept a pay cut - he’ll be seeking one last big pay packet before retirement, if anything - and this means he could be stuck at the Bernabeu until his contract expires in 2018.
Will Cristiano Ronaldo still be a Real Madrid player next season? Have your say by leaving a comment below.