Where will Cristiano Ronaldo be playing next season? That’s the big question after Juventus’ exit from the last 16 of the Champions League at the hands of Porto.
Juventus have understandably been briefing that they expect him to come back for at least the last year of his contract, but that hasn’t stopped sports outlets in Spain kicking the rumour mill into life about a possible return to Real Madrid.
Zinedine Zidane has even suggested that a return to the Bernabeu could happen.
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Other options aside from Madrid and Turin include a possible return to Manchester United and perhaps even a move to Paris. MLS has long been talked about but it seems a little way off for now. So we gathered four writers from around Europe, one each from England, Spain, Italy and France, to discuss the various pros and cons of each potential move.

Staying in Turin – Ronaldo is too important

Matteo Zorzli from Eurosport Italy makes the case.
The Pros
Andrea Pirlo's project has just started and the team's mechanisms have ample room for improvement, just as it is possible that some new top players will arrive once the crisis linked to Covid-19 has been overcome. From a commercial point of view, the mere presence of Ronaldo continues to attract investments from sponsors, TV rights and social media. Getting rid of him this summer would mean admitting a technical failure after the last elimination from the Champions League.

The Ronaldo earthquake – Euro Papers

The Cons
Ronaldo costs Juventus €31 million net a year. €60 million gross. And, just looking at the results on the pitch, after three seasons the Portuguese failed to make the leap in quality Andrea Agnelli's club hoped for in Europe - three eliminations in the Champions League (one in the quarter-finals, two in the round of 16 against lower level opponents: Ajax, Lyon and Porto), while before his arrival the Bianconeri had reached two finals. And then there is the age factor: next year Ronaldo will be 37 and, despite being a great professional, he cannot guarantee the physical strength of Real Madrid times. It was also seen in the double confrontation against Porto. Holding him back, if important offers arrive, would be a very risky bet for Juventus.
How likely is it?
At the moment, it is very likely. Juventus manager Fabio Paratici said that "Ronaldo is the future of the club and the criticisms of him are just bar talk.” What is certain, however, is that if the player asks to be sold there will not be another Messi case.

Return to Madrid – Real need goals but at what cost?

Felix Martin of Eurosport Spain makes the case.
The Pros
The pros are obvious for a player than can assure 40 goals per season. Real has a huge problem when it comes to scoring goals, and this problem would be solved if CR7 came to Madrid. Ronaldo needs to come back to Real, and Real needs players like Ronaldo to recover the greatness of these past few years. Both parts were just fantastic throughout the time that Ronaldo wore white. He won the Ballon d’Or four times, the same number of Champions Leagues that Real won while having Ronaldo as the leader of the team.
The Cons
Are there really any cons for having Ronaldo back? I can’t think of many, but if there were any, I would maybe mention that his arrival would somehow block or stop the progression of young players like Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Brahim Diaz, Martin Odegaard, Takefusa Kubo or Luka Jovic. If Ronaldo came back, he would obviously be in the starting XI each week, which would leave these young players with very few chances to have minutes and develop their talent.

Zidane a colloquio con Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Madrid-Al Jazira - Mondiale per club 2017 - Getty Images

Image credit: Getty Images

How likely is it?
There have been many rumour lately linking Ronaldo and Real from some reliable sources in Spain. Ronaldo receives a huge salary from Juve and the tax law is way more “relaxed” when it comes to these huge salaries than the Spanish one. I guess that Real wouldn’t have any problem paying Ronaldo, but having to pay that money would maybe make less likely the signings of players like Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland or Eduardo Camavinga.

Manchester reunion – More emotion than sense?

Pete Sharland of Eurosport UK makes the case.
The Pros
This would be an emotional reunion for a player and club that truly embraced each other in the latter half of the 00's. United were said to be interested when Ronaldo left Real in 2018 and it sounded as if he was interested, he just wanted to challenge himself in a new environment. In the past few years United have had plenty of success with strikers in their late 30's (see Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani) but Ronaldo is a step above either of them in terms of his presence both on and off the pitch. He would be another terrific mentor for United’s young strikers and would instantly make them a better team. It’s hard to overplay just how beloved he still is at Old Trafford and there aren’t many players who would receive a homecoming like he would. Plus it’s not as if the lacklustre standard of Premier League defending would hold him back…
The Cons
The fact that United keep being linked to these old strikers is rather worrying when you look at their younger players. Surely it is the time for one of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial or, to a lesser extent, Mason Greenwood, to become the main man up front? They’ve already learnt from two world-class players, they don’t need a third. They should be ready by now. United can’t keep plugging the gaps with players like this, maybe they need to look for a younger yet established striker. It’s also worth reiterating that now more than ever Ronaldo needs the team to be built around him, even more than Ibrahimovic in some ways. Is that what this United team and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer want? Why would he help United in Europe (a less established team at this stage) when he couldn’t do it with Juventus? The Old Lady reached two of three finals prior to Ronaldo’s arrival, while United are still playing second-fiddle in the Europa League by and large.

Cristiano Ronaldo - Manchester United

Image credit: Getty Images

How likely is it?
If Ronaldo doesn’t sign a new contract it’s definitely possible. At 36 Juventus won’t be able to demand too high a price and with some intelligent commercial moves (about the only thing Ed Woodward is good at) Ronaldo’s wages should be affordable. However, it’s hard to see why he’d move to back to the ultra-competitive Premier League where missing out on Champions League football is a real possibility each year when he could move to Spain or France where it would be guaranteed. France would represent a new, and interesting, challenge whereas in Spain he knows the team would be built around him. England just seems like it would be too risky for his “legacy” (ego).

New opportunity in Paris - A back-up option

Martin Mosnier of Eurosport France makes the case.
The pros
Paris are always attentive when players like Ronaldo are available. It's the very DNA of the club, regardless of age and how much it costs (remember David Beckham, Gianluigi Buffon, Daniel Alves). PSG need an icon (Lionel Messi or Ronaldo) if Kylian Mbappe leaves the club this summer. Ronaldo will make the PSG brand shine like no one else in the world and that is always a big concern for PSG owners. Ronaldo and QSI have always had a great relationship.

Messi et Ronaldo ne verront pas les quarts de finale de Ligue des champions

Image credit: Getty Images

The cons
The future of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kylian Mbappe is all still unknown. For Le Parisien, Paris Saint-Germain are considering going for Ronaldo in the wake of the possible departure of Mbappe this summer and the potential failure of PSG to sign Messi from Barcelona. So PSG's main priorities remain keeping hold of Mbappe (first priority) and trying to attract Messi to Paris (second choice). Ronaldo is just the third option. He's just a back-up right now.
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01/10/2022 AT 17:51