Cristiano Ronaldo has agreed to terminate his Manchester United contract with immediate effect after a fall out with manager Erik Ten Hag and Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr have offered a huge deal to sign the Portuguese striker.
The news of Ronaldo’s departure comes just a week after his controversial comments on Piers Morgan: Uncensored. The interview with Morgan was aired on TalkTV and it has since amassed a staggering 4.5 million views on YouTube.
During the interview Ronaldo launched a scathing attack on his Manchester United manager Ten Hag and admitted that he has no respect for him. The Portuguese star also hit out at the ownership model at the club and claimed that Manchester United had made “no progress” since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson in 2013.
Ronaldo has since issued a statement wishing Manchester United every success for the future but claimed it was the right time to seek a new challenge. The 37-year-old striker is coming towards the twilight years of his career but still believes that he is the greatest footballer on the planet and the news of his Old Trafford exit is likely to spark the interest of Europe’s elite clubs.
But who are the favourites to sign Ronaldo next? Here is everything you need to know.
How has Cristiano Ronaldo played this season?
Cristiano Ronaldo has been a peripheral figure for Manchester United this season and has struggled to get a regular run of first time appearances. The Portuguese forward is also struggling to find the net regularly for the first time in his career. So far this season Ronaldo has managed just one goal in 10 Premier League appearances.
However, it is worth noting that the majority of Ronaldo’s appearances this season have come from the bench and he has managed to start just four Premier League games this season. Ronaldo believes his game time has been limited due to his strained relationship with Erik Ten Hag and the 37-year-old forward was also suspended earlier in the campaign after refusing to appear as a substitute against Tottenham.
Despite struggling for form this season many other clubs will still see Ronaldo as a potential asset to their team. Last season for Manchester United he scored a total of 24 goals in all competitions including 18 goals in the Premier League.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner is amongst the most decorated players in the game and has proven on countless occasions over the last 19 years that he has what it takes to help his team win trophies. Ronaldo is currently competing in a record-breaking fifth World Cup for Portugal in Qatar 2022 and an impressive display in the tournament will likely put him in the shop window for a series of elite clubs.
Who has been linked with Ronaldo so far?
Al-Nassr have reportedly offered €200m a year to sign the free agent. In the interview with TalkTV, Ronaldo said he turned down a £305m deal to join the Saudi Arabian club in the summer - a move that would have made him the highest-paid footballer in the world.
At the moment, Ronaldo is understood to be fully committed to his country’s World Cup campaign and will make a decision after the tournament and a source close to Al-Nassr told BBC Sports “We are huge admirers and we, as any club, would love to sign him but understand his focus now is onlyon the World Cup.”
London giants Chelsea are currently the bookmakers favourites to secure the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo. Chelsea are currently managed by Graham Potter and have endured a slow start to the season so far.
They possess a vastly talented team consisting of key players such as Reece James, Thiago Silva and Mason Mount. However, their achilles heel over the last few seasons has been finding a clinical goalscorer. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubamayang, Armando Broja and Kai Havertz have all been deployed in the striker role this season but none of them have been able to find the net on a regular basis. In years gone by the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner have also struggled to deliver the goals on a consistent basis.
Chelsea have scored just 17 goals this season - the fewest in the top flight and Ronaldo could well be the answer to their problems in attack.
Cristiano Ronaldo began his career at Sporting Lisbon and was a product of the Academia Sporting, following in the footsteps of Portuguese icon Luis Figo.
Ronaldo made his first team debut for Sporting Libson in 2002 and played just one full season for the club as a winger. At the time Ronaldo was regarded as one of the most exciting young wingers in world football and it was his pace and trickery which caught the attention of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson who signed the player for around £12 million in 2003.
Sporting Lisbon are currently 4th in the Portuguese league and would need to finish in the top 3 to guarantee Champions League football for next season.
Any MLS club
The MLS is growing in popularity each season and the prospect of signing Cristiano Ronaldo could help the league reach new heights in terms of popularity.
Ronaldo is the most followed celebrity in the world on Instagram with a staggering 502 million followers and he could well follow in the footsteps of icons of the game such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Steven Gerrard by ending his career in the MLS.
This time last year very few football fans would have been able to envisage Cristiano Ronaldo wearing the famous black and white colours of Newcastle United.
In November 2021, the Magpies were rooted to the bottom of the Premier League and were still without a single victory in the Premier League. However, Newcastle have transformed in stature since 2022 and are currently one of the most in form teams in the league.
The Magpies are currently third in the Premier League table and are a club moving in the right direction under Eddie Howe. They are backed by the richest owners in world football and are one of the few clubs capable of affording Ronaldo’s lucrative wage demands.
Paris Saint Germain
PSG are another of the world’s richest clubs and over the last decade they have established themselves as the dominant force in French football.
PSG have assembled a star studded squad featuring the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Lionel Messi. They have been serial winners domestically over the last few seasons but are still chasing the most coveted club prize in world football in the Champions League.
Ronaldo is currently the all time record goalscorer in Champions League history with 140 goals and he has lifted the trophy a staggering five times over the course of his career. Throughout his career he has been a rival of Lionel Messi’s and football fans around the world would be intrigued by the prospects of seeing two icons of the game play alongside each other.
Who else has been linked with Cristiano Ronaldo?
Here are the top favourites to sign Ronaldo according to BetVictor:
- Chelsea - 3/1
- Any Saudi Arabian Club 1/5
- Any Portuguese club 5/1
- Newcastle 6/1
- Any MLS Club - 8/1
- Liverpool - 33/1