Why did Cristiano Ronaldo leave Real Madrid? Former Man Utd star’s career timeline, how many clubs has he had

Everything you need to know about Cristiano Ronaldo’s club history

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It was announced yesterday, Tuesday 22 November, that Manchester United and Cristiano Ronaldo had parted ways with a club statement saying: “The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford” and the club wished “him and his family well for the future,” adding “everyone at Manchester United remains focused on continuing the team’s progress under Erik ten Hag and working together to deliver success on the pitch.”

The ‘mutually agreed’ parting of ways comes as litle surprise following the 37-year-old striker’s explosive interview with Piers Morgan, in which he detailed his grievances with how the Red Devils had handled his own personal situation and gave a less than flattering analysis of their current manager, ten Hag.

This now marks the second time Ronaldo has left Manchester United and the odds are now suggesting he could return to his former side Sporting Lisbon, or stay in the Premier League with a move to Chelsea in January.

However, as Ronaldo focuses on where to go next, here is CR7’s club history up until this point...

Ronaldo during his penultimate match for United in November 2022Ronaldo during his penultimate match for United in November 2022
Ronaldo during his penultimate match for United in November 2022

Why did Ronaldo leave Real Madrid?

Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid in 2009 following his first stint at Manchester United, and was there for nine years, becoming Real’s leading goalscorer along the way. He made 438 appearances for the La Liga side and scored a total of 438 goals for the side in that time.

He also won four Champions League titles, three Club World Cups, a UEFA Super Cup, two La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups during his time at the Bernebeu.

However, in 2018, Ronaldo parted ways with Real Madrid, moving to Juventus for a fee of €100m and in an interview with France Football which followed his departure, the striker alleged that club president, Florentino Perez’s attitude towards Ronaldo had changed: “I felt it inside the club, especially from the president, that they no longer considered me the same way that they did in the start. In the first four or five years there I had the feeling of being ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. Less afterwards.

“The president looked at me through eyes that didn’t want to say the same thing, as if I was no longer indispensable to them, if you know what I mean. The truth is that the president wanted me but, at the same time, he made it known to me that my departure would not constitute a problem.”

Who else has Ronaldo played for?

Ronaldo began his career with Sporting CP, joining their youth ranks in 1997 before making his first team debut in 2002. He was there for only one year before signing with Manchester United in 2003 and his £12m transfer fee made him the most expensive teenager in English football history.

Eleven years after then leaving the club, he returned under the then manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but will now leave seven months before his contract was due to end. Ronaldo made a total of 346 appearances for United in which he scored 145 goals.

In the intervening years, Ronaldo also enjoyed a stint at Serie A’s Juventus where he made 98 league appearances, scoring 81 goals, in his three years there. He also contributed 14 Champions League goals and four Coppa Italia goals during this time in Turin.

Ronaldo’s club timeline:

  • 2002-2002: Sporting CP B and Sporting CP
  • 2003-2000: Manchester United
  • 2009-2018: Real Madrid
  • 2018-2021: Juventus
  • 2021-2022: Manchester United

Where will Ronaldo go next?

According to BettingOdds, here are the top clubs likely to sign Ronaldo:

  • Sporting Lisbon: 3/1
  • Chelsea: 4/1
  • Any MLS club: 6/1
  • Liverpool: 8/1
  • Bayern Munich: 17/2
  • PSG: 12/1
  • Napoli: 12/1