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Cristiano Ronaldo next club transfer odds – dream, realistic and wildcard options after leaving Manchester United

Cristiano Ronaldo next club transfer odds - dream, realistic and wildcard options amid Manchester United exit reports

Cristiano Ronaldo has played his final game for Manchester United, following an explosive interview.

The 37-year-old Portuguese forward recently sat down with Piers Morgan on Talk TV and effectively went scorched-earth on the Red Devils. So much so, the 20-time English champions tore up the contract with their once-talismanic star.

“Cristiano Ronaldo is to leave Manchester United by mutual agreement, with immediate effect,” began a 67-word statement released on Tuesday evening.

“The club thanks him for his immense contribution across two spells at Old Trafford, scoring 145 goals in 346 appearances, and wishes him and his family well for the future.

“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.”

Ronaldo himself said: “Following talks with Manchester United, we’ve mutually agreed to end our contract.

“I love Manchester United and I love the fans, that will never ever change.

“It feels like the right time to seek a new challenge.

“I wish Man Utd all the best.”

Here are five things we learned from this spectacular piece of television theatre, which should bring the curtain down on his United career, and in doing so we’ve also taken a look at the dream, realistic and wildcard options of where he could end up next.

1. He turned down £305m Saudi Arabia move

After failing to reach this season’s Champions League group stage, Ronaldo, who felt his all-time goalscoring record would be under threat, sought a departure from Old Trafford but nothing transpired given that he outpriced himself for the clubs who might want his services while those he would have loved to join didn’t need him. That being said there wasn’t any serious interest at least from Europe as Ronaldo revealed he turned down a mega move to a Saudi Arabian club.

It was reported by Marca that Al-Hilal had offered him a two-year deal. “It’s true, yes it’s true,” he said when asked about the rumours. “But what the press keep saying, the garbage that nobody wants me, which is completely wrong. And I was happy here to be honest, I was motivated to do a great season here. But they [the media] continue to repeat that nobody wants Cristiano. How do they not want a player who scored 32 goals last year, with a national team?”

2. He wants to play until he’s 40

If there’s one thing you can say about Ronaldo is that he’s never lacking in self belief. He’s always taken diet and training seriously which goes a long way to explain why he’s been able to play at the highest level for so long. With talks of him slowing down, even retiring soon, the five-time Ballon d’Or recipient is seeking to keep Father Time at bay for at least a few years.

“I want to play two years more, three years more,” he said. “So two or three years maximum. I want to finish with 40. I think 40 will be a good age. But I don’t know, I don’t know the future. Sometimes you plan one thing for your life and as I told many times, the life is dynamic. And you never know what’s going to happen.”

3. Three Man Utd players he admires

Like so many decorated stars, Ronaldo was once a teenage sensation. His emergence and eventual move to Manchester United in 2003 are well-documented. Ronaldo joined a United team chock-full of leaders who guided him along. However, back then Ronaldo felt he was in learning mode 24/7, which is something he feels today’s youngsters lack.

“I don’t think that they don’t respect the more experienced players or the older players, but they live in a different era. I can say that for my kid that’s 12 years old, the mentality is not the same,” he said.

“Their hunger [is different]. I think they have things more easily, everything’s easy, they don’t suffer – and they don’t care. ‘I don’t mean only a few in Manchester United, but all the teams in all leagues in the world, the youngsters are not the same of my generation. But you cannot blame them, because it’s part of the life and the new generation, the new technologies that distract them.

“They listen but this is why we have two ears, as you listen from one side and they go away from another side. It doesn’t surprise me. But in the same way it’s a shame because if they have the best examples in front of your eyes, and if they don’t at least copy what you did.

“For me, it’s kind of weird, because I remember when I was 18, 19, 20, I always looked to see the best players in Van Nistelrooy, Ferdinand, Roy Keane, and Giggs – this is why I have the success that I have and longevity. I take care of my body, my mentality, my head, because I see these guys and I learn from them.”

Even more damaging is the fact Ronaldo could only name three current Man United players he admires: “In Manchester United I can mention Dalot, he’s young, but very professional but I don’t doubt that he’s going to have longevity in football because he’s young, he’s smart, intelligent and he’s very professional. Probably Martinez, Casemiro is in his 30s, but I will say Dalot.”

4. Sir Alex Ferguson stopped Ronaldo from joining Man City

Before the prodigal son returned in 2021, he was heavily linked with a bombshell switch from Juventus to Manchester City. According to Ronaldo, he was ‘close’ to completing that move but an 11th-hour intervention from Sir Alex Ferguson — his ‘father figure’ — paved the way for his second spell at Man United. “Well, honestly, it [moving to City] was close. They spoke a lot and Guardiola said two weeks ago that they tried hard to have me,” he revealed.

“But, as you know, my history is in Manchester United. Your heart, you’re feeling the way you did before, and it made the difference. And of course, as well, Sir Alex Ferguson. It was a conscious decision because the heart speaks loud in that moment. I think it [speaking with Ferguson] was the key. I wouldn’t say that Manchester City wasn’t close. But I think, I did [make] a conscious decision. I don’t regret at some point. And as you mentioned before, Sir Alex Ferguson was the key. I spoke with him… He said to me that ‘It’s impossible for you to come to Manchester City’. And I said ‘OK, Boss’.

Man City, though, have denied Ronaldo’s account of his proposed move with sources telling ESPN that his claim it was “close” is false. His reverence for Ferguson was a sharp contrast to his feelings about current United boss Erik ten Hag, whom Ronaldo stated that he has “no respect” for. “I don’t have respect for him because he doesn’t show respect for me,” he said. “If you don’t have respect for me, I’m never gonna have respect for you.”

That was tame compared to his opinion of Ralf Rangnick, who he had not ‘heard’ of. “If you’re not even a coach, how are you going to be the boss of Manchester United? I’d never even heard of him.”

5. Man Utd haven’t progressed since he left in 2009

In the years between his first and second spell at Man Utd, the Red Devils claimed two Premier League titles and three more domestic cups while reaching the 2011 Champions League final (losing to Barcelona) and lifting the 2017 Europa League. But it’s fair to say Man Utd’s stature as English football’s preeminent club has waned, something Ronaldo touched upon. He feels the club, in terms of infrastructure, has stood still and is no different to when he was at the club from 2003 to 2009.

“When I signed for Manchester United… I thought everything would be different, you know, the technology, the infrastructures and everything. But I was surprised, in a bad way, let’s say in that way, because I saw everything was the same. They stopped on a clock, in my opinion, which is something that surprised me,” he said.

“At United, the progress was zero, in my opinion. To compare with Real Madrid and even Juventus, they follow the rest of the world. So the technology, especially in terms of training, nutrition and conditions of eating properly and recovering better than before – surprised me.

“Manchester right now, to compare with that club, I think it’s behind in my opinion, which is something that surprised me. A club with this dimension should be the top of the tree in my opinion and they are not, unfortunately. They are not in that level. But I hope the next years they can reach to be in a top level. I don’t know what’s going on but since Sir Alex Ferguson left I saw no evolution in the club, the progress was zero.”

But where does Ronaldo go?

Dream: Chelsea

Among those reportedly interested in signing Ronaldo in the summer were Chelsea, under new ownership. Then-boss Thomas Tuchel supposedly vetoed any move. Tuchel is no longer there and the Blues still lack a consistent source of goals. Ronaldo was United’s top-scorer just last season with 24 goals across all competitions and also brings marketability to the table, which Todd Boehly and Co. might gravitate towards. Relocating to Chelsea keeps Ronaldo in the Premier League and, more importantly, offers him a return to Champions League football, with a tie against Borussia Dortmund in the last 16.

Ronaldo is 3/1 with Sky Bet to sign for Chelsea in the January transfer window

Realistic: Any MLS club

The once-held reputation of MLS as a ‘retirement home’ for ageing European footballers is no longer a thing. But that doesn’t mean players in the twilight years of their careers have stopped moving across the Atlantic. See Ronaldo’s former teammates, Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini. He could very well join them if Europe’s super clubs turn their backs on him.

Sky Bet are offering odds of 5/1 for Ronaldo to join any MLS Club before February 3rd 2023

Wildcard: Paris Saint-Germain

As crazy as this may sound, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar — who form football’s most lethal attack — are not guaranteed to be at PSG in the forthcoming months. Mbappé was close to leaving last summer with reports circulating that Messi may finish his career at boyhood club Barcelona and Neymar is also linked with pastures new. Any two of those stars exiting opens the door for Ronaldo, who is just as big a marquee name. But there’s no guarantee of M-N-M breaking up anytime soon.

Ronaldo is 12/1 with Sky Bet to sign for PSG in the January transfer window