Will Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid?

After winning the 3rd straight Champions League finale, and 4th in five years, Real Madrid’s best player Cristiano Ronaldo stated, “It was very nice to be in Madrid. In the next few days, I will give an answer to the fans who have always been by my side.” This set off a firestorm in the soccer media, as it hinted that the five time Ballon d’Or winner may leave Real in the summer. It has been rumored, and not for the first time, that the superstar will return to his old club in Manchester United where he became a star.

Manchester United is the rumor and there are other ones as well, but will Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid? It seems pretty unlikely. Man U can pay Ronaldo, but his transfer fee would likely be the biggest of all time. He is 33 years old and makes $50 million per year and is signed until 2021. There have been reports that Ronaldo has had issues with the tax authorities of Spain. On top of that even with all of his records and accolades the fans of Real have never really taken him with open arms, as their best player of all time.

Chasing History

If chasing records is Ronaldo’s goal he should stay at Real Madrid. Bookmakers already have Real as the odds-on favorite to win the Champions League next season. Real Madrid’s “Paco” Gento won six medals in the 1950’s and 60’s and AC Milan’s and Paolo Maldini and Billy Costacurta each have five. On top of that Ronaldo is tied with long-time nemesis and Barcelona great Lionel Messi with five Ballon d’Or trophies. While he would obviously help many clubs his best chance for more trophies in his stacked cabinet has to be with Real Madrid.

Where Would He Go?

While Manchester United is the club that is most often talked about when taking on Ronaldo are other clubs on the radar? PSG have been big spenders in the last few years, but they have striker Neymar under contract for HUGE dollars, so Paris is unlikely. Chelsea and Arsenal have the means, but they will likely not take on an aging star for the amount of money he would command. China is also a possibility, but even at 33 Ronaldo is still in his prime and while he would make a ton of money there, trophies and major individual awards would not be in the cards. He does not fit in the team-game mode of Bayern Munich and his style does not mesh with Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.

Fellow Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who scored in the Champions League finale, said after the match, “Where will Cristiano go? He stays with us, we need Cristiano.” When Ronaldo’s comments after the match were relayed to Real manager Zinedine Zidane he said the Portuguese superstar is “indispensable” to Madrid. There will be a lot of talk this summer with the possible move of the best player in the world, but it would be pretty shocking if he were not in the Spanish capital next season.