News broke yesterday that Real Madrid were said to be considering an £88 million bid from Juventus for Cristiano Ronaldo. The thirty-three year old dropped a few hints after the Champions League final that he may depart the La Liga giants this summer, and there have been growing reports that he is unsettled there.
It’s set to be a big period of significant change and upheaval at Real. They are due to begin a new era, following Zidane’s shock resignation and the left of field appointment of Julen Lopetegui last month. The fact that they are said to be even considering Juventus’ bid is telling and, if true, worrying for Europe’s big clubs.
Lopetegui has just inherited a squad to die for. A team of serial winners and world class talent, there is an argument to suggest that they don’t need a stellar name in charge of the club management to orchestrate them on the field. This may actually partially explain Lopetegui’s installation as head coach.
Whatever the motivation, it appears that the new man wants to clear some space in order to create his own impression at Los Blancos. Marco Asensio is said to be off, and Alisson Becker has been heavily linked with a world record transfer fee for a goalkeeper. It now appears as though Ronaldo could become a shock departure this summer.
Youngest old player in the world
When it comes to discussions about players and their value in the market, age must always be considered, and Ronaldo is no different. However, at thirty-three, he is still as potent and hungry as he was at twenty-seven, and still just as deadly in front of goal. He is a freak of nature and of sheer will. Just last month he boasted to the global press that he had a biological age of twenty-three and suggested that Russia 2018 may not be his last major tournament with Portugal.
His hat-trick against Spain, as well as his gun-ho performances in the Champions League last season, certainly suggest that he is far from finished at the very highest level. Despite his age, he is an obvious asset to Real, so make no mistake, if he does go, it would be something of a surprise.
Not many players at that age show the same level of commitment and vital importance to their team. There is also the actual value of a potential transfer to consider. Yes, £88 million for a thirty-three year old is unprecedented money, however, there is an argument to suggest he’s worth more than this to Real Madrid.
In 2016, he was worth 40% of Real’s total shirt sales. He’s a global icon and a marketing dream for any club. There are also the skills that are unquantifiable – such as his worth in terms of attitude and desire. You can point to goals scored as tangible evidence of his quality, but how much belief does he inspire in his teammates just by his sheer presence in the side?
It is always worrying when the most powerful football team in the world starts to posture and go after other club’s players. If Ronaldo does depart, or indeed any of their star forward players go, then it is likely to have far reaching consequences. Europe’s clubs should be braced.
Already there have been murmurs, albeit, quickly dismissed murmurs that Real are sniffing around some top talent. Sadio Mane and Kylian Mbappe have been linked already this summer, whilst Chelsea look set for an assault on Eden Hazard and Thibaut Courtois before the window shuts.
Real Madrid and Barcelona are both known to employ the dark arts in player manipulation. Internet leaks, player interviews and the mobilization of the Spanish sports press, have all played their parts in recent years. It is hard for any player to resist a shot at glory which is practically guaranteed at the Spanish giants, but when this temptation is further fueled by some dodgy methods then it makes it neigh on impossible for clubs to hang on to their best players for long.
Rolando’s potential departure will cause a massive hole in Real’s squad. They will fill it with a superstar, it just depends on who they get ultimately. Neymar would be a massive coup for them and a real black eye to Barcelona, if Real snared their former darling a year after he left. They could well use money from a potential sale of Ronaldo, as well as easing of the wage bill to go after the Brazilian, no matter what the cost.
Money is often not an issue either, as Barcelona have proved in their recent pursuit and ridiculous fee paid for Philippe Coutinho in January. They are super rich and very powerful clubs, seemingly immune the FFP rules and FIFA’s regulations.
If club’s like Monaco or Chelsea are plundered then it is likely to cause a ripple effect throughout the market this summer. Fans like a big signing, increasingly no matter what the cost, as Aston Villa fans can attest to with their “free” signing of John Terry last season. With another huge influx of capitol in the market, clubs will want to act fast to secure their targets and keep the pressure off. Bidding wars and disputes will likely open up as clubs look to either stave off interest or cash in.
The Ronaldo rumors may turn out to be bogus, but there is no smoke without fire. And there has been plenty of smoke rising from the Bernabeu since May. His ill-timed comments following Real Madrid’s Champions League victory in Kiev were not exactly reassuring for the fans:
“In coming days there’ll be answer about my future. It has been very nice playing for Real Madrid.”
Comments like that are what no fan wants to here, but it appears that Ronaldo is refusing or commit to Madrid. Whatever happens next, it’s likely to be a very busy six weeks!
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