The news coming from Turin will catch many pundits by surprise. Juventus are prepared to let Ronaldo go at the end of the season. Why would they want to do that when it is clear he is central to their expected success? If true, the unconfirmed rumours could see one of the costliest transfers and perhaps make Ronaldo the oldest highest paid athlete.
Is there some truth to these rumours? Football pundits say it’s a classic case of making hay while the sun shines. Ronaldo is still a prolific goal machine even as he turns 36 next year. Juventus could be looking to sell him while they can still make some money out of him.
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The big question still is, why would Juventus let their star scorer go? The grapevine has it that Andrew Pirlo thinks Ronaldo is a bit selfish and too much of an attention seeker. While it is true that Ronaldo has been consistently delivering the goals, his magic may not rub off on the rest of the team.
Juventus were beaten 2-0 by Barcelona in UEFA Champions League group stages. The team is wallowing at fifth in the Serie A table. The Bianconeri have to rediscover their magic fast if the season is to go their way.
The Torinese had spent an eye-watering €100 million to buy the star striker from Real Madrid in 2018. There were high hopes that he would help them lift the elusive UEFA Champions trophy. But Juventus is yet to lift the trophy. Maybe the club feels that this investment has not had the expected returns.
Ronaldo’s salary is another pain point for the club. He signed up for a £28million (€31 million) a year. It is twice higher than the next most paid player, Matthijs de Ligt. The club would be happy to see this hefty bill off their books. There is a feeling that there are younger and upcoming strikers who will cost less and deliver just as well, with a bit of nurturing.
There is a very real financial incentive for Juventus to sell Ronaldo before his contract ends in 2022. The terms of the contract were that he walks free after the contract. Juventus could be trying to pre-empt this loss by selling him before the contract ends.
Which club will be willing to pay top dollar for a striker at the tail end of his career? There are few takers for a 36-year old striker, but this is no ordinary striker. Ronaldo has crunched up very impressive stats in his career. Ronaldo was instrumental in his club taking Serie A last season. His international role has also been stellar, with 101 goals for Portugal. This is the combined tally for Thierry Henry and Robin Van Persie, the second and third placed top European scorers.
His total score was 31 goals for Juventus in the last season. This has made him one of the only two players to ever net more than 30 goals in five different European leagues. He has scored 130 goals in UEFA Champion games. With five Ballon d’or awards, he has earned his place among the world’s best footballers of all time.
PSG has been rumoured to be interested in signing him up. For one, the French club has deep pockets that will be required for such a transfer. PSG sports director, Leonardo Araújo, is reported to have said that PSG still can pull off such a transfer. He opined that PSG would be ready to ‘enter the circle’ if Ronaldo becomes available.
Manchester City is also mentioned in the same breath. It is no secret that the Emirati owned club has bottomless pockets and is not afraid to spend. It is also true that this season is not going very well for the Citizens. They need someone to replace the injury-prone Sergio Aguero.
Man City was looking to move on Messi when the Barcelona striker announced his unexpected exit at the season’s end. But rumour has it that they think Ronaldo is a better bargain. For City, it would also be another chance to upstage their bitter rivals, Manchester United. Ronaldo was once United’s blue-eyed boy, and it would be immensely cathartic to field him in Old Trafford.
So is Ronaldo on the move again? Only time will tell.