Cristiano Ronaldo has reportedly asked Manchester United to let him leave if a suitable offer arrives, a decision resulting from the Red Devils failing to qualify for the UEFA Champions League and not being active enough in the transfer market.
While the Portuguese asking to leave makes proper sense, it might just be the wrong decision to take, especially at the age of 37.
Ronaldo wanting to play Champions League football is a fine desire, but are there clubs in Europe who can afford him and want to?
Real Madrid are definitely not getting him back as despite his 24 goals last season, they would prefer Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr more.
Manchester City will not go for him, and after signing Sadio Mane, Bayern Munich will not be paying Ronaldo’s hefty wages for sure.
Nobody except for Juventus can pay him that much cash, and apparently, PSG, who are known for signing superstars, have already said no.
So, the only realistic option might be Chelsea, and would Ronaldo be willing to cut ties with United fans forever by joining a side that is one of their direct competitors for Champions League football?
On the other hand, United are, after a rocky nine years where they made one wrong decision after another, have finally set their sights on starting a project by appointing Erik Ten Hag as the new manager.
But United are yet to sign a player, which only adds to Ronaldo’s frustration. It’s still early July, and they have two months to sign new players. And it’s not like they are not in the conversation for quality players.
They have been talking with FC Barcelona for quite some time now for Frenkie De Jong. The Dutchman was an integral part of Ten Hag’s Ajax team before leaving Barcelona. While he has failed to become the promised superstar, his performances have regularly shown how he would massively improve United.
They have already agreed on a 65 million Euros fixed fee for De Jong, what remains is the add-ons and personal terms with the player.
They have already signed left-back Tyrell Malacia, and are trying to sign Lisandro Martinez, a very apt centre-back from Ajax.
They are also on the verge of signing Christian Eriksen on a free move, and the Danish is bound to bring in quality.
Yes, with a United squad that lacks quality in so many departments, that is little movement in the transfer market. Especially when Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspurs have been busy already, with the former signing Gabriel Jesus, and the latter signing the likes of Ivan Perisic, Yves Bissouma and Richarlison.
But United are moving, and Ronaldo must look at the bigger picture before asking to leave. If he stays at United, he will undoubtedly be the leader and face of United’s new project, whereas somewhere else, he will just be a superstar signing for a year or so.
Ronaldo, at most, has two more good years left in his career. While his willingness to compete at the highest level is reasonable and phenomenal, that might kill his status as a legendary Manchester United player. If he leaves now, for United fans, he might end up being a player who left them in their dire days.
If he stays and manages to kick off United’s long-term turnaround, he will only attach himself to United folklore in gold.
It’s his choice, and at 37, he must make the right one.