Cristiano Ronaldo’s Manchester United future is shrouded in uncertainty, with the forward having reportedly asked to leave the club this summer if a suitable offer is made.
New United boss Erik ten Hag claims Ronaldo is in his plans, but just a year after his sensational return to Old Trafford, Ronaldo could be on the move again and, despite the fact that he is 37 years old, there is no shortage of suitors .
Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Napoli have all been linked with Ronaldo, but which club would suit him best?
Even though they are both nearing the end of their illustrious careers, the prospect of Ronaldo playing alongside Lionel Messi is tantalizing given how they have competed with each other for many years.
Although PSG have wealthy owners, they have already spent a significant amount renewing the contract of Kylian Mbappe, who received a £110 million signing bonus and is now on an annual salary of £20 million.
Ronaldo reportedly earns around £26.5 million a year, so it is possible that Mbappe would no longer be the highest paid player at PSG.
If Ronaldo did join PSG then Neymar appears to be the most likely candidate to make way, and the Brazilian has been linked with a departure in any case.
A front three of Messi, Mbappe and Ronaldo seems incredible on paper but would they be able to function as a cohesive unit and would Messi and Ronaldo be able to play alongside each other? Also, with Mbappe usually deployed up front, Ronaldo may have to be used out wide, which may no longer bring the best out of him.
Managing the aforementioned trio would be a daunting task for new PSG boss Christophe Galtier, especially when it is taken into consideration that this is his first permanent spell in charge of a club of this size.
MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo latest transfer news and rumours: Ten Hag insists absent star is not for sale
If Ronaldo was to leave for a Premier League rival it would be a source of much frustration for United supporters, but new Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is eager to make a statement in the transfer market.
Chelsea need a high-profile forward to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku and Ronaldo’s prior experience of playing in the Premier League could prove to be extremely useful.
If Ronaldo was deployed up front with players like Mason Mount and Kai Havertz supplying him, then he could thrive. In addition, with Chelsea’s wing-backs pushing forward with regularity, it could get the best out of Ronaldo’s aerial ability.
Whether a move is actually feasible remains to be seen, and Ronaldo’s wages would eclipse those of anyone else in the team.
In terms of tactics, though, this could be a good fit for both Ronaldo and Chelsea and could provide the Blues with a short-term boost in their quest to close the gap on Liverpool and Manchester City.
Erik Ten Hag: “Cristiano Ronaldo is NOT for sale, he is in our plans – he’s not with us due to personal issues. We are planning with Cristiano Ronaldo for this season, that’s it”. 🚨🔴 #MUFC
“How to make Cristiano happy? I don’t know – I’m looking forward to work with him”. pic.twitter.com/8bSRpQbXkI
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 11, 2022
Ronaldo’s spell at Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018 encompassed many incredible moments and his goalscoring record at the club was phenomenal as he found the net 450 times in 438 games.
During that spell Ronaldo won the Champions League four times and there have been suggestions that he could return to the Bernabeu.
However, despite his quality, it is questionable whether Real need to bring Ronaldo back. Karim Benzema demonstrated last season that he is still one of the best strikers in the world, while on the left flank Vinicius Junior played a key part in Real’s Champions League success, which included a goal in the final against Liverpool.
It is arguable that Vincius could switch to the right flank to allow Ronaldo to play on the left, but that risks unbalancing the team and Real are a side that doesn’t require too many changes. Besides, they can still call upon the likes of Rodrygo and Marco Asensio.
A return to Real would be the romantic option for Ronaldo but if it happened it could be somewhat similar to when he went back to United in terms of disrupting the harmony of the team. That is something that Real could do without.
— Portugal (@selecaoportugal) July 10, 2022
Napoli has also been suggested as a possible destination for Ronaldo and he has already won the Serie A title twice with Juventus.
However, Napoli already have a high-profile forward in Victor Osimhen, who scored 14 goals in Serie A last season. They also have Lorenzo Insigne out wide. It’s possible Ronaldo could join and play as a winger, but again he is more suited to playing as a striker nowadays and that option wouldn’t really be available at Napoli.
There is also an issue regarding wages as Ronaldo’s pay would, in all likelihood, double that of the club’s current highest earner Kalidou Koulibaly, which may mean that this transfer isn’t feasible.
Returning to Serie A could be a good option for Ronaldo as he may be able to dominate the division again, but Napoli does not appear to be a particularly good fit in terms of his playing style.
MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo requests transfer from Manchester United: Chelsea, Bayern, Napoli, and other clubs he could join
Ronaldo has won the league title in England, Spain and Italy. Would he be enticed by the prospect of doing so in Germany as well? If Robert Lewandowski (who has been heavily linked with Barcelona) ends up leaving then Ronaldo could be a candidate to replace him.
Bayern, though, have already brought in Sadio Mane this summer, with the winger set to earn around £13 million a year. It is questionable, then, whether they would be able to afford Ronaldo’s wages as well even if Lewandowski left.
Ronaldo could fit quite snugly into Bayern’s system and he could be prolific in the Bundesliga.
At present, however, the chances of the move happening appear somewhat remote and it seems like Bayern will look elsewhere for a replacement if Ronaldo leaves.
So, what team would suit Cristiano Ronaldo best?
There are plenty of possible options for Ronaldo but, although it would anger United fans, a switch to Chelsea could be the best option. If he received plenty of service then he could make a major impact and it would be quite a statement to start the Boehly era.
Bayern Munich would also be a good fit tactically, but Ronaldo’s wages could be an issue and if he joined PSG it could well be a case of there being too many star players in the team, which could create disharmony. Real Madrid, meanwhile, already have Karim Benzema so they don’t need to pursue a move for Ronaldo and Napoli can call upon Victor Osimhen.
Therefore, as controversial as it may be, a move to Stamford Bridge could be hugely beneficial for Ronaldo.