Whatever you may think about Cristiano Ronaldo, his goalscoring record over the past eight years is nothing short of staggering, and will easily see him go down in history as one of the greatest football players to ever play the game. In this week’s 8-0 thumping of Malmo at the Bernabeu, Ronaldo extended his Champions League scoring record to 88 goals, and also became the first Real Madrid player to score four goals in a single Champions League match. The records continue to be broken as the goals continue to flow.
But this can’t last forever. Ronaldo will be 31 in February, and already there is speculation over his next move. The Portuguese is under contract at the Bernabeu until 2018, and although he has said he would like to finish his career in Madrid, it’s looking increasingly likely that he will play for another team before he is done, perhaps even as early as next summer.
In an interview with Spanish TV station Antena 3, Ronaldo delivered some mixed messages over his future. “There are things that you kind of already have an idea, that to play one day for Barcelona would be almost impossible, or to play for another English club other than Manchester [United], it’s very complicated.”
But would he rule out a move to Barcelona, Madrid’s greatest rivals? “But that’s not 100 per cent guaranteed. As I said before, there are no certainties in football. Everything is open, all leagues.”
It’s easy to imagine that a player of Ronaldo’s calibre will have a queue of clubs looking to sign him, but in reality that’s unlikely to be the case. Aside from the astronomical fee it will take to pluck him from Real Madrid before the end of his contract, Ronaldo’s wage demands are likely to put all but a handful of clubs out of contention. He’s been continually linked with a move to French giants PSG, speculation which heightened following a secretive conversation he had with their manager Laurent Blanc last month.
Other potential candidates include former club Manchester United, who certainly have the financial capability to make a move happen. It remains to be seen whether the will is there though, especially considering that Ronaldo is reaching the end of his career.
When asked if he would move abroad to play in America like many European stars have done, Ronaldo recently said that he thought it unlikely: “I’ll finish my career at the top level. Not in Qatar or the USA.”