When Real Madrid welcome Wolfsburg to the Bernabeu, there will be more than their Champions League hopes on the line. Despite Barcelona's La Liga blip, the big-eared trophy remains Real Madrid's best chance of winning silverware this season. Failing to overturn to 2-0 deficit may seal Zinedine Zidane's fate but, according to the Daily Mail, it will do the same for three senior first-team stars.
When the final whistle goes at around 10.30pm, the boos around the Bernabeu will be heard for miles if the tie goes the way of the Bundesliga club, but no one in the stadium will be more disappointed that Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Portuguese has guaranteed his place in the Real Madrid record books, breaking the records of club legends Raul, Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas. However, his distinct lack of trophies means his legacy amongst fans is destined to crumble.
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Another trophy-less season would leave Ronaldo with just one league title and one Champions League to his name. That pales in comparison to the glory that the aforementioned legends enjoyed during their respective spells at Los Blancos.
The fact that his goals have yielded so little over the years is hardly Ronaldo's fault. He has, at times, been guilty of what some may call selfish play, but there is no doubt that his incredible efforts have been undermined by those around him.
Either way, he is going to be the first man to take the fall if Real Madrid fail to win their 11th European title. Reports have already suggested that €60million will be enough to sign him, although the fact that he turned 31 in February will put many off. Only PSG and Manchester United seem interested while the riches in China could prove an attractive option for man who loves to be loved.
Two more scapegoats
Another likely to fall down the trapdoor is James Rodriguez, who, like Ronaldo, has become something of a scapegoat for Real Madrid's failings. Neither Rafa Benitez or Zidane have been overly impressed with the Colombian this season. As a result, he has watched much of it from the bench.
At 24-years-old, Real Madrid are confident that interested parties would pay £60m for him, but that would only be enough to recover what they originally paid Monaco to sign him in 2014.
Finally, Isco will also be pushed out in what promises to be a summer of upheaval under Florentino Perez. With a transfer embargo hanging over their heads, the likes of Paul Pogba, Robert Lewandowski, and Eden Hazard are all potential targets.
All likely to cost exceptional amounts of money, only one is likely to join – if any – but the sale of three senior first-team members should generate significant funds. Perez, of course, seems obsessed with breaking his own transfer record and this summer seems a better time than ever to do it.
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