Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United has quickly gone from dream to nightmare.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner returned to the club from Juventus last summer to the delight of fans, with United’s board convinced his goals could prove the missing piece in the jigsaw towards silverware.
The exact opposite has happened. Ronaldo’s return has coincided with United spiralling out of control once again, and he now finds himself desperate to leave the club before the transfer window shuts, according to multiple reports.
Ronaldo scored 24 goals in all competitions last season for the Red Devils, but clearly hampered their style of play as the club finished sixth, with their lowest points tally in Premier League history.
It was clear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer couldn’t get the team to work around him, while Ralf Rangnick’s spell as interim manager was largely forgettable as United barely held onto Europa League football.
As a result, the club has changed direction with Erik ten Hag now in the hot seat. And despite initial assurances from the new manager that Ronaldo was in his plans, he missed the bulk of pre-season and has underwhelmed in his two appearances thus far this season.
New reports emerged today from The Athletic (via @UtdReport on Twitter) that Ronaldo cuts an isolated figure around the club and even eats by himself at United’s Carrington training complex.
Adrien Rabiot DONE DEAL! (Football Terrace)
It’s a miserable situation for all involved – not least Ten Hag – with Ronaldo clearly set on leaving, but United not keen to sell and no suitable offers arriving for the 37-year-old.
The main question so far has been if Ronaldo is to leave, who will he sign for?
He has been linked to clubs, but a move has failed to materialise and as such, his future remains up in the air, burdening Ten Hag further while he desperately tries to rebuild the squad where possible.
With that in mind, we at GIVEMESPORT have pulled together a ranking order for everyone’s sake. We’ve created four categories to separate the clubs into, judging them on how likely Ronaldo is to sign for them.
The categories we’ve gone with are: ‘No chance’, ‘Unlikely’, ‘Outside bet’ and ‘Feels inevitable’. Be sure to check out how we got on below.
AC Milan – Italian journalist Tancredi Palmeri stated that Milan were offered the chance to sign Ronaldo this summer, and refused. Because of course they did. They’re a well run club these days, after all.
Inter – The same report from Palmeri stated that Ronaldo was also offered to Inter. They also rejected him. A move to the city of Milan feels all but impossible.
Real Madrid – Club president Florentino Perez has already ruled out re-signing Ronaldo at Real Madrid this summer. Considering they already have Karim Benzema as the experienced forward, we don’t think he’s lying.
Los Angeles FC – Ronaldo has long been linked with a move to MLS, as is every footballer advancing in age these days, but his desire to play Champions League football probably puts that on hold for now.
Al Hilal – ESPN reported earlier in the summer that an unnamed Saudi Arabian outfit made a mega offer to try and sign Ronaldo from United, but he turned it down. For the same reasons as above, it’s not on the cards.
Bayern Munich – Would he fit in with Julian Nagelsmann’s intense, high-pressing system? No chance. But would he still score a shed load of goals in the Bundesliga? Absolutely. They need a Robert Lewandowski replacement, too.
Barcelona – Considering Ronaldo almost joined Manchester City last summer and the fact that Barcelona continue to pull off deals for every player under the sun, despite their financial situation, you simply cannot rule this out. It’s insane, but we wouldn’t be all that shocked.
AS Roma – Ronaldo hit it off with Jose Mourinho while the pair were at Real Madrid and has experience in Serie A. He’d be the perfect addition to a well built squad; the only issue is wages and the lack of Champions League football.
Paris Saint-Germain – PSG’s owners turning down the chance to field an XI including Ronaldo, Neymar, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe? Come on, they’re frothing at the mouth for it. They can afford it, too. Don’t be surprised if it happens.
Napoli – While they don’t have the Champions League in Rome, they absolutely do in Naples. Napoli’s Scudetto challenge fell apart last year, but perhaps Ronaldo would get them over the line this year. It’s a big risk, but a scenario that does appear to suit all parties involved.
Sporting CP – Back-to-back romantic returns to former clubs, the possibility of going back to where it all started for Ronaldo feels very real, especially considering Sporting crucially have Champions League football this season. He might even take a pay cut to return, if he’s feeling generous. Would he want to leave Europe’s top five leagues, though? It’s debatable.
Chelsea – Todd Boehly has been on a rampage in his first summer in charge of Chelsea as a majority shareholder, rebuilding the squad significantly. Romelu Lukaku is out, and a new, experienced striker is wanted in. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked, but a late move for Ronaldo feels so inevitable.
Chelsea need a forward and this way, Ronaldo can stay in England, while also playing Champions League football on high desired wages. It makes complete sense. On paper, anyway.