As the 'ripe old age' of 31 approaches, Cristiano Ronaldo should consider this being his final season at Real Madrid.
The Portuguese has done quite some job at the Bernabeu - breaking numerous records, winning trophies and claiming personal accolades. Ronaldo has written his name into Madrid folklore, that much is certain.
He still has time on his side to be a success elsewhere but, for the good of Los Blancos, his departure would provide Gareth Bale the platform he needs to take up the torch and finally establish himself in the Spanish capital.
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The Bale-Ronaldo conundrum remains a sticking point at the Bernabeu, stepping on each other's toes ever since the Welshman arrived from Tottenham Hotspur in 2013. It was always going to be an interesting pairing because, after all, how do you accommodate the two most expensive players in the world in the same attacking line-up?
Trying to find the answer to this question is looking increasingly futile; Madrid is simply not big enough for the both of them, and Ronaldo needs to go as a result.
On the face of it, having both is a manager’s dream - two of the biggest names on the planet, each capable of winning a game on their own.
With such talent comes the demand to build a team around them, but that's just not possible. Carlo Ancelotti tried and failed, and now Rafael Benitez is suffering from the same predicament, unable to utilise Ronaldo and Bale side by side.
Football's most successful teams have always had a world-class forward amongst their ranks, but few have had a number of them at one time – at least not in the same starting XI. The Barcelona trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez is the best, and perhaps the only, current working example.
Benitez wants to play Bale through the centre, but this relegates Ronaldo to a reduced role on the left which, as football fans are well aware, is unsuited to the Portugal international's need to be centre stage.
As a result, the Wales international is forced to persist on the right. At the age of just 26, there is certainly an argument to suggest Bale is a greater treasure to Madrid than Ronaldo - therefore, focus should be placed more on getting the best out of the former rather than satisfying the demands of the latter.
So what are Benitez's options? Many would jump at the chance to sign Bale, but selling him so soon after his arrival as the world’s most expensive player would be controversial, let alone detrimental.
Further massaging Ronaldo’s ego will yield diminishing returns over time such is the widespread opinion that his performances are already on the decline.
In their own right, Ronaldo and Bale are individually perfect for Madrid and deserve to be the club's number one - but they're simply not made for one another.
And as the pressure mounts for silverware to consistently return to Los Blancos, one of them has to go. Logic suggests it should be Ronaldo.
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