Real Madrid-leaning Spanish sports daily AS on Tuesday published an astonishing survey which showed that nearly half (49.96 percent) of some 30,000 of its readers would like to see Real Madrid sell Cristiano Ronaldo this summer. This is astonishing because Ronaldo scored or assisted on 83 goals in just 52 appearances last season.
The timing of the survey’s release is particularly unfortunate because, according to the Daily Mail, the 30-year-old only just told the club that despite his issues with president Florentino Perez, he is ready to continue his career at Real following the appointment of Rafael Benitez as head coach.
Ronaldo might be on the wrong side of 30, and though he’s undoubtedly a giant prima donna, he’s still the second-best player in the world, averaging nearly 1.5 goals or assists per game last season. Perhaps we’ve all grown a little too used to such astonishing statistics from the likes of Ronaldo and Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, but no matter what Real’s fans think, it will be impossible for the club to replace that kind of output in the transfer market.
Nevertheless, it looks as though a huge chunk of the Madrid faithful think its time for the Portuguese to move on. That might be enough to persuade Ronaldo, who has proven to be a sensitive guy in the past, to pack his bags.
But where do you go from Real Madrid?
Multiple reports have linked Ronaldo with a possible move to Paris Saint-Germain. The super-rich French club is reportedly keen on offloading aging star Zlatan Ibrahimovic to help fund a transfer, which would cost around 87 million-pounds ($136 million), according to the Sunday Telegraph. For those who are counting, that’s seven million pounds ($11 million) more than Real paid Manchester United for Ronaldo back in 2009.
Meanwhile, things are moving: Zlatan is in Qatar this week meeting with PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi about his future. The big Swede has just one year left on his contract, and PSG could be eager to cash in while it can still get something for the 33-year-old. Ibrahimovic, who has been particularly vague about his future, has been relentlessly linked with a move back to former club AC Milan.
According to Le Parisien, Ibra is in Qatar expressing his displeasure about a clause in his contract which will see him take a 20 percent pay cut next season, thus forcing him to lose his status as the club’s best-paid player to defender Thiago Silva. What happens here could set in motion the events that could send Cristiano to France.
Over in Spain, there have been several tabloid reports that Ronaldo is fed up with life at Real; the fans turning on him might just be the last straw. To be sure, Ligue 1 is a lesser competition to La Liga, but then again, Ronaldo has already won everything there is to win in Spain, both individually and with the club.
In the end, whether or not these mega-transfers go through might come down to the clubs. Can Real really get 87 million pounds for 30-year-old Ronaldo? And how much can PSG get for Ibrahimovic, a 33-year-old with just one season left on his contract? Perhaps most importantly: where does UEFA’s financial fair play fit into this? We know PSG can afford Ronaldo, but can it do so while also balancing its books?
In any event, transfer season hasn’t even officially opened yet, so there is still plenty of time for each side to sort things out. Stay tuned.