Back when Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Juventus in 2018, it seemed like a complete no-brainer. The biggest team in Italy signing arguably the best goalscorer in the world: what could possibly go wrong?
Fast-forward three years and it's not exactly been how CR7 pictured it. The Portuguese goal machine won four Champions Leagues at Real Madrid but it's not even been the big dogs of European football who have scuppered his new employers. Ajax, Lyon and Porto have knocked the Old Lady out of Cristiano's competition, leaving him to cut an ever-frustrated figure on the field.
Well now, he may well have just had enough. The 36-year-old has one last deal left - and could be worth as little as £25m.
Is Ronaldo on the move?
Rarely does a big name become available without being linked with PSG these days but signing Ronaldo and Lionel Messi in the same transfer window is surely something that can only happen in a computer game.
No-one could doubt the French club have the resources to make it happen and many – not least the marketing department – would love to see that pair together alongside Neymar. Kylian Mbappe leaving could perhaps change the picture - but it does still seem like fantasy football.
Still, a 4-2-3-1 could crowbar all four into the same line-up. Go big or go home, PSG... we'd love to see it.
As with PSG, the deep pockets of City’s owner makes this an easy link to make but it maybe should not be completely dismissed.
City’s need for a regular goalscorer to replace Sergio Aguero is well known but they appear to be getting no encouragement in their pursuit of Harry Kane. Should they decide to shelve that bid, 36-year-old Ronaldo would be an obvious short-term option.
He does not fit the normal profile of a Pep Guardiola player, however, and his past association with rivals Manchester United would be a complicating factor. Would Pep Guardiola settle for CR7 when he doesn't press? And would he take Raheem Sterling's number?
Many United fans would undoubtedly snap up any opportunity to bring the Portuguese back to Old Trafford were it up to them. There may also be an emotional pull on Ronaldo’s part to return to a club where he enjoyed considerable success early in his career.
Yet it is not the first time such a move has been suggested and it is not obvious if there is any real appetite for it to happen. Ole Gunnar Solksjaer already has an older, wiser head up front in the shape of Edinson Cavani - does he need another?
This would perhaps seem the most likely possibility. New Real boss Carlo Ancelotti is reportedly interested and Ronaldo’s love of the club, where he is an adored figure, is still strong.
Finances could be the stumbling block, though, with uncertainty over what the Spanish giants can afford. Plus, with Real so heavily interested in acquiring Kylian Mbappe, it doesn't seem likely that Ronaldo would give up his spotlight to the new kid on the block, should Real sign the Frenchman next summer.
Ronaldo apparently fell out with Florentino Perez when he left the Bernabeu. If the pair can reconcile, maybe the deal could happen.
Sporting were Ronaldo’s first professional club and there have been suggestions he would like to end his career where it started. It would be a sentimental move but whether he is quite ready for that remains to be seen.
Sporting are on the up, however, having won the title last season and found themselves in the Champions League for this campaign. To have CR7 lighting up European nights for them this season would be very special, indeed.
Spurs are one of the latest clubs to be linked with what would be a shock move for the evergreen Ronaldo.
The club are on the look-out for attacking reinforcements and their need would become greater should Kane leave. Whether they could truly lure one of the all-time greats to play in the Europa Conference League – if they even qualify for it – seems unlikely at this stage, however.
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