Will he stay or will he go? That’s the question Real Madrid fans are asking themselves about their star forward Cristiano Ronaldo. The 32-year-old captain of Portugal has recently stated that he wants to leave the Spanish and European champions as he’s looking for a new challenge. The former Manchester United and Sporting Lisbon player has numerous teams interested in him and could be sold for a new world record.
The four-time Ballon d’Or winner as the best soccer player in the world has scored more than 600 goals for his clubs and country during his career and you’d have to be crazy not to be interested in him. However, he’s still under contract and it’s unclear how much Real Madrid want for him. In truth, Ronaldo angrily stated he wants to leave Spain because he’s been accused of tax fraud there. Taking that in mind, these are five reasons Ronaldo will never leave Real Madrid and five reasons he might.
Why He’ll Stay
5. Trophies Galore
Real Madrid is arguably the best soccer team in the world right now and it may be hard for Ronaldo to pack up and wave goodbye. The team was once again crowned champions of the Spanish La Liga as well as winning its second consecutive European Champions League title. Real Madrid has now won the European title a record 12 times including five times in a row from 1955/56 to 1959/60. The club has also won a world record 22 international trophies as well as 33 La Liga championships. If Ronaldo is in the game to win trophies then he probably has a better chance to do so with Real Madrid than anyone else. He could be getting bored with all of the winners’ medals and club records, but that’s unlikely.
4. His Teammates
No matter what sport you play it’s just human nature to form friendships and strong bonds with your teammates. Ronaldo joined Real Madrid back in 2009 for a then world-record fee of 80 million pounds. He’s been with the club for close to a decade now and has many friends and acquaintances at Madrid. And with the team being so successful with Ronaldo in the lineup you can bet his teammates and everybody else associated with the franchise will be trying to talk him into staying. In the end, he may just feel more comfortable with his current teammates such as Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Luka Modric and could very well be persuaded by them to remain with Real Madrid.
3. Close To Home
We shouldn’t discount the fact that Ronaldo is comfortable with the Spanish lifestyle as well as the climate and food etc. Spain of course shares the Iberian Peninsula with his homeland of Portugal and while the native tongues are different, they’re still similar enough to rule out any language barrier. The proximity of Portugal is a bonus for Ronaldo as he can come and go on a regular basis in just over an hour. He’s also relatively close to his hometown of Santo Antonio (Funchal) on Madeira Island as the flight’s just over two hours. The weather is also very agreeable in Spain. I mean who wants to be playing in the English Premier League in dark and damp Newcastle in the middle of February?
2. Real Pays His Tax Bill
Let’s get back to Ronaldo’s tax problem, which is basically the reason he said he wanted to leave Real Madrid in the first case. There’s a good chance he’ll stay with the club if Real takes care of any back taxes he owes and also covers any fine he may receive. Of course, if Ronaldo’s sentenced to jail then he’s on his own. In reality, $15 million is just a drop in the bucket to both Ronaldo and Real Madrid and there’s a good chance the club would pay whatever he owes if it meant he’d stay. If the team stepped up to the plate and went to bat for Ronaldo he’d see it as a sign of support and would likely return the favor by playing out the remainder of his contract.
1. Real Won’t Sell Him
Fans should remember that Ronaldo is under contract to Real Madrid and while he may sulk and whine if he doesn’t get his way, the club still has the final word on the situation. It’s basically up to Real Madrid if they want to sell the player or not. Fiorentino Perez, the president of the Spanish champions, recently told the media that he understands Ronaldo’s anger and frustration with his Spanish tax-fraud allegations, but is adamant that he won’t be sold. He believes Ronaldo will settle the matter with the club after his first court date and is sure everything will work out fine. The player signed a new five-year deal with Real Madrid just last year and the buyout clause is reportedly more than a billion dollars. However, Real would probably ask for about $200 million to sell him.
Why He’ll Go
5. The Taxman
As George Harrison and the Beatles reminded us back in the 1960s, nobody likes the taxman, but that doesn’t mean you should try to rip off the government to avoid paying him. Ronaldo has just been hit with accusations of tax fraud in Spain and joins Barcelona pair Lionel Messi and Neymar as well as Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho as soccer personalities in trouble with the Spanish government. Messi has already been found guilty and received a suspended sentence for his part in hiding his income and Mourinho and Ronaldo were accused in June. Meanwhile, Neymar’s under investigation for corruption in Spain and tax fraud in Brazil. Ronaldo’s scheduled to testify on July 31st, but he’s not happy about it and basically wants to take his ball and go home because of the allegations. The Real Madrid star is accused of tax fraud in the neighborhood of $15 million between 2011 and 2014 by hiding income from image rights in a company in the British Virgin Islands.
4. Return to Manchester United
If Ronaldo does decide to leave Real Madrid there’s a good chance he might want to return to Manchester United of the English Premier League. Ronaldo basically made a name for himself while playing at Old Trafford from 2003 until 2009 after starting his career in Portugal with Sporting Lisbon. Manchester is home away from home for Ronaldo and he’s comfortable there. He’d also be hooking up with his former Real Madrid boss and fellow countryman Jose Mourinho. Man United would jump at the chance to sign Ronaldo, but would probably put a limit on how much they’d pay for him as well as not wanting to go overboard when it comes to his salary. There’s still a 50/50 chance he ends up at Old Trafford though if he leaves Madrid and it’s a well-known fact Real would love to have United goalkeeper David de Gea.
3. More Money
Other than pro boxers such as Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, Ronaldo is reportedly the highest-paid athlete in the world. The Portuguese captain supposedly makes close to $100 million a year when bonuses and endorsements are added in. However, if he decides to join a new team he’ll have a chance of making even more money. He’d likely set a new world-transfer record fee and may also have a new contract written up which could dwarf his current deal with Real Madrid. There are several teams interested in him such as Man United, Paris Saint Germain, Chelsea, and Bayern Munich. Ronaldo will never spend the money he’s already made in his lifetime, but he’s 32 years old now and may only have a few more years to go in his soccer career. Besides, he may need a few extra million to take care of his tax bill.
2. A New Challenge
Ronaldo’s not exactly on his last legs, but he’s no spring chicken either. He could probably play until he’s 40 if he wants to and may want to face a new challenge before his career’s over. He’s won just about everything possible with Real Madrid up to now and could actually be getting a bit tired of it. The biggest world market for soccer at the moment is China and Ronaldo may decide to help grow the game there by signing with a team in the Chinese Super League. He’d also be able to ask for a raise since the league apparently has the magic ability of growing money on trees. There’s also another remote possibility which nobody has really given any thought to and that’s seeing Ronaldo crossing the ocean and joining a club in North America’s Major League Soccer. Perhaps David Beckham could sign him if his proposed team in Miami ever gets off the ground.
1. He Won’t Get Over It
It’s possible Ronaldo will calm down after the current Confederations Cup tournament in Russia ends on July 2nd. He’ll also know a lot more about his tax evasion situation when he goes to court on July 31st. Ronaldo needs to realize his problems won’t just disappear if he leaves Real Madrid and plays elsewhere though. The Spanish authorities aren’t going to suddenly drop their case against him if he ends up in playing in England or France. Ronaldo has a fiery temper, which is evident if you’ve ever seen him play, and his current outrage with the Spanish taxman may not subside in a few weeks or so. He’s upset and also feels Real Madrid hasn’t done enough to support him, but there’s no running away from his problems at this point. Perhaps his emotions have just gotten the better of him or he may hold a grudge against Real for a long time.