4 reasons why Ronaldo won't actually leave Real Madrid
Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t leaving Real Madrid. Sorry to ruin the fun.
The football world went into hysteria on Friday when various outlets, including the BBC and Marca, corroborated a report from Portugal that Ronaldo was so incensed by the tax fraud allegations against him that he has made the “irrevocable” decision to leave the reigning Champions League kingpin.
Read more – Report: Ronaldo eager to leave Real Madrid amid tax fraud investigation
On many levels, this doesn’t make sense – including the simple fact that, you know, allegations of tax fraud don’t just magically vanish if you decide to hightail it out of a certain country.
So with that in mind, here are four reasons why it remains very unlikely that Ronaldo will be playing for a new club next season:
Every other club would be a step down
Real Madrid is in the midst of a dynastic reign. Winning three Champions League titles in the past four seasons is a remarkable achievement that, combined with a La Liga crown, makes Ronaldo’s current club the best in the world at the moment. Perhaps the constant tug of war with Barcelona will soon see the Catalan team regain the upper hand, or maybe Manchester United can rise to the level of years past, but right now, Madrid is the pinnacle of footballing excellence.
To continue adding to his already bloated trophy cabinet, remaining with Los Blancos is the sensible move for the 32-year-old scoring machine.
United may have surpassed Madrid as the most valuable side on the planet, but let’s face it, going back to Old Trafford right now would, from a strictly sporting perspective, signal a downgrade for the Portuguese. If we know anything, he craves only the best. He’s maniacal in his pursuit of perfection.
He has that in the Spanish capital.
A move to China takes the Ballon d’Or off the table
Financially speaking, the Chinese Super League is the only division in the world that can significantly improve Ronaldo’s standing. Deemed by Forbes to already be the highest-paid athlete on the planet – Ronaldo made €82.5 million between his salary and off-field endorsements last year – he doesn’t need to go somewhere that will pay him significantly higher wages.
Now, only Ronaldo (and maybe his closest advisers) truly know what matters most to the prolific attacker: monetary gain or personal accolades. If he’s simply after the cash, which is possible, but seems unlikely, then China is the obvious move. The problem, of course, is a switch to the Far East means his chances of winning future Ballon d’Ors disappear.
Lionel Messi isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, and with the Argentine being three years Ronaldo’s junior, he’d have ample opportunity to distance himself as the most decorated player the sport has ever seen – with regards to individual accolades.
It seems unlikely that Ronaldo, an obsessive competitor, would make a decision that actively diminishes his chances of emerging victorious in his battle with the diminutive Barca star.
Who could actually afford him?
We touched on this above, but if Ronaldo really wants to leave, Real Madrid isn’t going to just let him walk out the door. The club’s all-time leading scorer is going to demand a gargantuan transfer fee that would easily eclipse the €105 million Manchester United paid to bring Paul Pogba back to Old Trafford last summer.
Whether it should, given his age, is another story. But it will.
It wouldn’t come close to the ridiculous €1-billion release clause said to be in his contract. And it wouldn’t hit the roughly €350 million his agent Jorge Mendes said would be required to pry him from Madrid two years ago. But it would be a huge, record-breaking figure nonetheless.
Again, a Chinese club could certainly afford it, but that brings us back to the golden elephant that is the Ballon d’Or.
Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are the two sides being immediately linked with a move for Ronaldo. Would it even make sense for either to cough up a world record transfer fee to sign him, and then offer him something in the realm of €450,000-a-week in wages?
Florentino Perez will demand a small fortune for Ronaldo’s services, and the player himself isn’t going to play for peanuts – even if, again, his back account is already bulging.
This is probably just a momentary freak-out
Ronaldo has been known to lash out at his teammates on the pitch when they don’t play a perfect pass into his stride, and at referees when they don’t award free-kicks for supposed infringements he thinks he’s suffered.
So it’s no surprise that, citing sources close to the player, reports claim Ronaldo is “outraged” by accusations that he’s defrauded Spanish tax authorities of €14.7 million.
“He feels he’s honest, has good character, and did everything OK,” one source told the BBC. “He’s very sad and really upset.”
Look, maybe he is truly incensed and feels utterly betrayed by Real Madrid, but, from the outside looking in, it seems far more likely that he let his emotions get the best of him and said something he doesn’t really mean.
It happens to the best of us. Athletes are human, even if we often forget that.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)