Every lock has a key, but not every key fits in every lock. Even the best have their limits. This summer, Cristiano Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Manchester United following the club’s dismal 2021-22 Premier League campaign that saw the club finish sixth with its fewest points total ever. The Red Devils will be playing Europa League soccer in the fall, and reportedly Ronaldo is less than happy and wants a move away, but where can he go?
When Ronaldo hears the fans chanting “SIUUUUU” despite him trying to force himself out of United pic.twitter.com/rdBm5t3Z4O— ً (@Bk8iP3) July 26, 2022
Cristiano Ronaldo Transfer Saga Explained
The first necessity is Champions League soccer. Ronaldo playing in the Europa League would do tremendous damage to his legacy and image, like parking a Ferrari in a shed. The problem becomes: Who wants to buy the Ferrari? Unfortunately for the Ferrari, it's getting a bit older now and even though it's taken great care of itself, it's just not the car it used to be. Conceptually, it's still one of the best cars in the world, but when it hits the road, you begin to notice why the previous owner was so eager to turn over the keys.
Personal Success And Collective Failure
Since he left Real Madrid, a dark cloud has followed the Portuguese forward. During his time at Juventus, Cristiano was immensely successful on a personal level, scoring 101 goals in 134 appearances. After the 2020-21 season, Ronaldo became the club’s top scorer of the past decade, despite spending just three seasons in Turin.
Cristiano Ronaldo was Juventus top scorer in the 2011-2020 decade despite joining the club in 2018... pic.twitter.com/7qD9GPpSoE— SPORTbible (@sportbible) July 15, 2022
But Juventus as a whole declined massively. Since being knocked out in the Champions League quarterfinals by Ajax in 2018, Juventus has failed to make it past the Round of 16 every season with humiliating losses to Lyon, Porto and, most recently, Villarreal. In Serie A, Juve has ended its nearly decade-long grip on the league and has been fighting for Champions League qualification for the past two years.
He then left Italy and rejoined Manchester United, a team that had just finished second in the Premier League, five points above the previous champion Liverpool. In his first season back, Ronaldo scored 24 goals in 38 matches, a fairly respectable tally. Manchester United, however, finished sixth with just 58 points, a massive 35 points off title winner and rival Manchester City.
#Ronaldo did exactly what I thought he would do, score goals but make the team worse. The transfer request also kills the idea he turned down Man City because of his love for Man United https://t.co/X7Xw9uRnm4— Jamie Carragher (@Carra23) July 2, 2022
So why does this happen? Why is it that arguably one of the best players in the world is going to top teams, playing well and yet making them worse? Is it merely a correlation or is there something deeper at play here? Many have their theories that are ultimately impossible to prove for certain, but a reasonable explanation is that Real Madrid, Juventus and now Manchester United have all compromised their tactics and focused on getting the ball to Ronaldo or putting him in a position where he is the primary attacking focus. This would explain his tremendous goal-scoring rate and his sides’ combined decreased offensive output.
The Next Chapter?
Regardless of why it is true, the fact remains that Ronaldo is capable of scoring goals, but signing him has been something of a death sentence for the clubs that do. He wants minutes at a top team where he can play Champions League soccer, but for that to happen there needs to be an overlap in the European soccer Venn diagram of clubs who both want him and meet his needs, and clubs who can afford him.
At the moment, there have been various links with Chelsea, Bayern Munich and Atlético Madrid, but amid the speculation, no team has seemed keen on signing the 37-year-old.
Thomas Tuchel has decided against Cristiano Ronaldo signing, as things stand. Jorge Mendes had talks with Todd Boehly but final decision has always been up to the manager. #CFCChelsea are now focused on different deals - Tuchel isn’t keen on signing Cristiano. pic.twitter.com/Fa19FcPhNX
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 14, 2022
Bayern director Oliver Kahn again on Cristiano Ronaldo: “As much as I appreciate Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the greatest players, a move would not fit into our philosophy”, tells @FrankLinkesch ⛔️ #FCBayernMendes discussed with Bayern of Ronaldo but answer is still the same. pic.twitter.com/6Ax6YG6kLs
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 6, 2022
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo: “I don’t know who invented this story about Cristiano Ronaldo to Atletico Madrid. It’s definitely not true”. ⚪️ #Atleti“It’s practically impossible for him to come to Atletico de Madrid”, tells @partidazocope. pic.twitter.com/gYJLPek4pC
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 26, 2022
Through this whole situation, Manchester United has remained steadfast, saying Ronaldo is not for sale and that he will be a key player for the club this season. According to Fabrizio Romano, Cristiano is back in Manchester where he and his agent, Jorge Mendes, will be holding talks with Manchester United and new manager Erik ten Hag to discuss his future.
Cristiano Ronaldo will meet with Erik ten Hag to discuss about his future. Man Utd insist he’s not for sale while Cristiano wants to go - Mendes, still pushing #MUFCNo changes on Frenkie de Jong, as of now - no intention to accept a salary cut.
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 26, 2022
With how talks have gone so far, it would not be surprising if United allowed Ronaldo to leave, but finding a club that will take him is easier said than done.